Unveiling Gender Bias in Hiring: Key Statistics & Solutions

Whether intentional or unconscious, gender bias in hiring at technology companies has contributed to a widening of the gender gap in the workforce. This gap results in businesses losing out on huge benefits in areas such as problem-solving skills, spend management, innovation, and more.

Historically, there have been more men than women in the total workforce, as traditionally, women have been the primary childcare providers and homemakers. However, between 1991 and 2015, the number of women pursuing S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) post-secondary education increased from 15% to 35%. Currently, the majority (56%) of students enrolled in any post-secondary institution in Canada are women.

Despite women's high post-secondary education rates, their employment in many industries still isn’t at par with their equally qualified male counterparts. Systemically, this gap begins during the hiring process and is known as gender bias in hiring.

In this article, we will explore the impacts of gender bias in hiring in the tech sector and introduce some actionable strategies to help you avoid biased hiring in your organization.

Key gender bias statistics in tech

Here are some sample statistics, cited and expanded on below:

  • Women in technical roles at large companies make up only 25% of the workforce.
  • Only 37% of entry-level tech roles and 15% of tech CEO positions are held by women.
  • Employers report that 21% of wage bias in their workplaces is based on gender identity.
  • In Canada, women earn, on average, $0.89 for every dollar earned by a man.
  • 45% of employees in tech believe hiring bias is occurring at their company.
  • In 2023, 38% of job positions exclusively invited male applicants to interviews.
  • Female candidates are 35% less likely to get a job interview if the hiring manager discovers they have children at home and 30% less likely to get a job interview with identical qualifications and experience as a male candidate.
  • 73% of employers are taking steps to minimize unconscious bias in hiring, but only 26% believe these trainings positively impact hiring decisions.
  • 39% of surveyed women believe gender bias will affect their ability to get promotions at their current job, compared to just 8% of men.
  • For every 100 men promoted from entry-level positions to managerial roles, only 87 women were promoted, and for women of colour, this number is 73 per 100 men.
  • Gender representation by industry shows women make up 64.7% in Healthcare and Care Services, 54% in Education, 49.7% in Government and Public Sector, 48.7% in Retail, 46.5% in Admin and Support Services, 33% in Technology, Information and Media, 22.7% in Oil, Gas, and Mining, and 22.3% in Infrastructure.

Current landscape of gender bias in hiring

The statistics undisputedly illustrate gender inequality in the recruitment process and employee treatment between different candidate demographics.

Lack of women in tech roles

Women in technical roles at large companies currently account for only 25% of seats (up from 22.4% in 2019). Gender inequality exists through all levels of employment and management—only 37% of entry-level roles in tech and 15% of tech CEOs are women.

This under-representation of women in tech roles leads to diminished benefits, which include:

  • Diverse perspectives
  • Increased creativity
  • Improved company culture
  • Role modeling and mentorship

Ultimately, hiring women in tech roles not only promotes equality and reduces the gender gap, but brings tangible benefits to companies and the technology industry as a whole through diverse opinions, perspectives, and values.


Wage bias

For decades, women have advocated for wage equality in the workplace, believing they are paid less than male candidates when all other qualifications and circumstances are equal. This claim is supported by recent survey data from employers who say 21% of wage bias in their workplace is based on gender identity.

In Canada, the wage gap was reported at about 19% in 1998 but decreased to 11% in 2021— this equates to women earning $0.89 per dollar earned by a man. This decrease in the gap is attributed to the distribution of men and women across many occupations, more women seeking higher education, and the decline of men in unionized employment. In tech, it’s slightly better, with Caucasian women earning $0.95 per dollar earned by a Caucasian man in 2022, but Black women only earning $0.90 per dollar earned by a Caucasian man.

Unequal interview invitations

45% of employees in tech believe hiring bias is occurring at their company. This is further illustrated by the number of men invited to interview, compared to female candidates. Last year, 38% of interview requests were sent only to male applicants. This rate improved from 2018-2020, when it was 43%. Still, it's negatively impacting the ability of women to get into tech roles they’re fully (or over-) qualified for.

A woman’s perceived “traditional” role as caregiver and homemaker also affects their ability to get job interview invitations when hiring bias is in play. This may be due to gender stereotypes regarding the productivity of women and working moms, rather than other prejudices. According to a Universitat Pompeu Fabra report, female candidates are:

  • 35% less likely to get a job interview if the hiring manager discovers they have children at home
  • 30% less likely to get a job interview, even if they have identical qualifications and experience as a male candidate

Gender biases like these may be attributed to intentional sexism (believing a notion that women are not suited to tech roles) or could be an unconscious bias by hiring teams and hiring managers. 73% of employers are taking steps to minimize unconscious bias in hiring by having staff participate in unconscious bias and diversity training. Still, only 26% believe these trainings positively impact hiring decisions.

Fewer promotions at work

Gender discrimination continues through employment. 39% of surveyed women believe gender bias will affect their ability to get promotions at their current job (compared to just 8% of men). This could make it difficult for tech companies to retain quality female applicants when they’re not motivated with career advancement potential.

Last year, for every 100 men promoted from entry-level positions to managerial roles, only 87 women were promoted. For women of colour, 73 women are promoted per 100 men. This disparity is causing women to fall behind the ranks of their male peers and struggle to catch up. Sometimes, it leads to female employees resigning to pursue other employment where they see more potential for career advancement.

Gender representation by industry

(based on 2023 World Economic Forum data)


% of Women

Healthcare and Care Services




Government and Public Sector




Admin and Support Services


Technology, Information and Media


Oil, Gas, and Mining




Impact of gender bias on businesses and employees

The gender gap in the tech industry has wide-reaching impacts on businesses and employees. To promote gender diversity, companies prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and practices.

Companies that make DEI a priority often experience the following:

Impacts on employees when gender bias is corrected

All employees benefit from an equitable, inclusive workplace with a gender-diverse team:

  • Boosted morale: DEI practices show employees that you care about something larger than your “bottom line.”
  • Increased employment satisfaction: 78% of employees believe it’s essential to work for a company that values DEI (58% say it’s “very important”)
  • More career opportunities for women: When fewer women are overlooked for jobs they’re qualified for, women see clear paths for career advancement and success.
  • Women grow at the same rate as men: With merit-based opportunities and promotions that aren’t gender-based, women can grow at par with their equal male counterparts.
  • Employees work harder for personal and professional success: Employees at DEI-led companies are twice as engaged, 57% more effective at collaborating with co-workers, and 19% more likely to stay with their company.

Overcoming gender bias: Actionable strategies for employers

As a DEI-conscious technology company, you can take steps to eliminate conscious and unconscious gender bias in your recruitment processes by following these tips:

Remove identifying questions in HR process and job postings

Remove any application or interview questions that could identify the applicant’s gender, putting you at risk of developing a gender bias. For example, it’s illegal to ask questions about a candidate's identified gender, marital status, or family plans (now or in the future).

Use gender-inclusive language in your job description. Avoid using identifying pronouns like “he” and “she” in your posting, and instead use “they” or “you.”

Include skills and experience-based questions

To avoid unconscious biases in gender discrimination coming into the interview, focus your questions on identifying the candidate's ability to perform the required skills. Ask, “How would you approach this tech challenge on the job,” not “How would you balance your work and home life?”

Create an intake test and apply it early in the process

Ask each candidate to perform a short skills assessment for their application process. This helps you narrow down potential interview candidates by their skills, not based on any conscious or unconscious gender biases.

Conduct structured panel interviews

Panel-style interviews are becoming more popular to support an inclusive hiring process. Panel interviews are usually more structured, minimizing the chance of gender-biased questioning, so every candidate receives the same questions as their peers so candidates can be compared based on the same criteria.

Whether you do panel or one-on-one interviews, a structured interview provides an 81% more accurate view of candidates than unstructured interviews. Ask all candidates the same questions and score them on the same scales to understand how each candidate's skills compare to their peers.

Plan inclusive hiring events

Encourage attendance from all potential candidates and don’t limit hiring events to specific demographics like women. Instead of planning a “Women in Tech Job Fair,” plan an “ABC Company Tech Job Fair.” If you choose to utilize gender-specific language in your event title or description, make it clear that everyone is welcome.

Implement salary bands

Salary bands establish transparent and equitable pay structures based on factors such as experience, skills, and job responsibilities. By setting clear salary ranges for each position, employers ensure fair compensation for all employees, regardless of gender. This promotes transparency, minimizes negotiation biases, and fosters a culture of pay equity within the organization.

Provide opportunities for learning & development

Supporting your staff's productivity, innovation, and career advancement equally is essential for business success and employee satisfaction. Invest in opportunities for your staff to upskill or reskill through programs like Lighthouse Lab’s corporate training programs in data, web development, and cyber security.

Lighthouse Labs' own commitment to diversity and inclusion

At Lighthouse Labs, we practice what we preach. We’re committed to our diversity and inclusion initiatives:

  • We support underrepresented students in tech.
  • We provide financial aid for equity-deserving groups like women, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, and newcomers to Canada.
  • We share the success of our diverse alums online.
  • We endeavour for gender equality in our own hiring and business practices.
  • We aim for an equal workforce of men and women working together to achieve more. At present 64% of our leadership team are women.
  • 25 people received promotions in 2023, 96% were women (24).

See all of Lighthouse Labs’ past and present impact initiatives, including initiatives like the Women Learning to Code & Take Leadership and Women in Tech programs to eliminate barrier in employment for women entering the tech workforce.

LighthouseLabs is also committed to helping you diversify your workforce with our career services support. We can help you hire from our diverse talent pool, provide you with wage subsidies, and support you with recruitment, screening, and candidate matching.

Achieve gender equity in tech hiring

Gender parity in the workplace has come a long way in the past 10-20 years, but the gap still exists. As an employer, you can take the above-mentioned steps to build a more inclusive and productive workplace with fair hiring practices.

To ensure your gender equity initiatives stay on task to reduce bias in tech hiring:

  • Regularly review your hiring practices (to adapt where you’re underperforming)
  • Commission an external review and audit (to get a valuable third-party perspective on your processes)
  • Ask for candidate and employee feedback (to ensure you’re meeting the career and personal fulfillment goals of your entire staff)

You can be at the forefront of addressing gender discrimination and building a more inclusive and productive workplace. Lighthouse Labs can help by either supplying corporate upskill and reskill training for your existing diverse team or accessing our list of qualified tech candidates from our diverse alum pool.

Get started enhancing your hiring practices with Lighthouse Labs.