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What Sephora Can Teach Your Employer About Hiring Women in Tech

Topics: Data & Research
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When it comes to gender equity, Sephora has tech giants like Apple and Facebook beat. In fact, as The Wall Street Journal recently noted, 62 percent of Sephora’s tech roles are held by women. By comparison, in the industry as a whole, women hold about 26 percent of tech jobs.

In Silicon Valley, tech employers compete for a potential staff of programmers, UX designers, and even executives. Despite the demand for talent, at most tech firms women only make up a small percentage of the workforce — especially in higher paid technical and leadership roles.

How Sephora Is Changing the Equation

Sephora is making dramatic changes in that hiring trend in Silicon Valley.

“At Sephora, women make up the majority of its 350-person digital and engineering staff and hold all but one of the roles on its six-person digital executive leadership team,” writes John Simons at the Wall Street Journal. “Women lead everything from digital marketing and customer experience in apps to back-end programming of the company’s e-commerce systems.”

How do they do this? Through hiring practices that look to the future.

“Managers say the retailer has managed to attract technical women by recruiting with an eye toward candidates’ potential rather than specific skills, encouraging hiring managers to take risks and ensuring that job performance is assessed fairly,” Simons writes.

Looking for Potential in Young STEM Students

There’s a growing movement to introduce young girls to engineering, math, and science careers in primary and secondary school. But education alone won’t create a new generation of female engineers and executives. The “looking for potential” practice at Sephora is one that could be used to inspire women to stick with their STEM focus after college and beyond.

“One study showed that college-age women tended to steer clear of engineering and computer majors because they think they must be brilliant, not just hard working, to succeed — a consideration that doesn’t seem to deter young men,” writes Laura Colby at Bloomberg.

Want to help inspire a young women interested in STEM? Take a look at PayScale’s 2nd Annual Women in STEM Scholarship.

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