We know that diversity in the workplace matters. When teams are made up of people from different backgrounds with different ways of thinking, it fosters better innovation, decision making, and performance.

Research by Josh Bersin found that inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. Research from McKinsey shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same. Catalyst research shows that companies with more women on the board statistically outperform their peers over a long period of time.

As companies across industries push to be more inclusive, those in the field service space must double down on efforts to recruit and retain women. Field service has long been a heavily male-dominated industry. But over the past few years, this has been changing, with more women joining technician, engineer, operations, and management roles.

For anyone looking to improve their acquisition of diverse talent, we’ve put together a list of ways to better recruit women to field service, informed by the experiences of women who have made their careers in field service.

1. Increase Visibility of the Field Service Profession

It can be hard to recruit people to jobs that they don’t know exist. For many women thinking through their career options in high school and college, field service is not on the radar. By partnering with local schools, colleges, universities, or after-school programs in your community, you can help spread awareness that a job in field service is an exciting and rewarding career path. There are many examples of this for STEM, such as Girls Who Code, that work to encourage women to pursue male-dominated industries.

One of our customers, Mycronic, works with the non-profit organization Hello World to teach children about programming and inspire more girls to get interested in IT, technology, and problem-solving.

“Studying at university I never once heard anyone speaking or lecturing about the Field Service/After Market profession, so I had never really considered this to be a career path for me. I learned about engineering, marketing, sales, logistics, and finance, but mostly always with a physical product in focus. Over the past years, I believe more companies have seen that demands are changing in consumer markets, which requires a shift toward service in the current business models,” says Elin Edfast, Global After Market Process Manager at Mycronic.

In working with colleges and universities to recruit women to field service, Edfast advises that companies:

  • Highlight potential and growth opportunities within Field Service
  • Share their visions and what roles and technology they need to get there
  • Offer defined career paths and training and development plans for junior engineers/fields service professionals at the beginning of their careers

2. Remove Unconscious Bias from Job Descriptions

Research has shown that there are two types of bias in job descriptions: Explicit bias and implicit bias. While explicit bias is no longer legal, implicit or unconscious bias is still common in many job descriptions.

In field service, unconscious bias comes through in the types of skills and qualifications that are listed on the job descriptions. Ashley Lawrence, Director of Business Analysis at Quench, questions the big emphasis on tinkering and being able to fix XZY when there is much more to the job than that—especially in terms of customer relationships.

“Field service technicians are the face of the company and trusted advisor to the customer. Customer relationships are everything. Service wins customers now, rather than a product,” says Lawrence.

Elin Edfast echoes similar criticism of field service job descriptions. Noting that men will apply for a job if they meet half of the criteria, but women will only apply if they meet 95%, she suggests including the soft skills that will make someone successful in the role.

“It is important to highlight the ‘softer’ skills and personality traits such as empathy, communication, and relationship building that are equally as valuable for success as the technical skills and years of experience,” says Edfast.

3. Educate Your Employees on Gender Assumptions & Stereotypes

To both attract women to come work for your company and retain them as employees, it’s important to assess your company’s culture and educate employees on the explicit and implicit gender assumptions that harm women. Research from Gaucher, Friesen, and Kay found that gendered language and a lack of gender diversity significantly decreases feelings of both belongingness and job appeal for women.

“As a woman, it can be difficult to see where you fit in and how to make yourself heard. Still today there are the assumptions and stereotypes that only men can solve technical problems. I remember 10 years ago when I was working for a telecom company, I met a number of male customers that asked to speak to one of my male colleagues instead when it came to more complex technical questions,” says Edfast.

“When I started working in field service, most of the females had one type of role and most of the men had another. It was a challenge to “cross that line” into different roles or be thought of as someone that could understand the technical aspects of our systems and processes, or to be thought of as someone that enjoys hands-on work,” says Cathy Klein, Global Transformation Lead at Sensormatic Solutions, part of Johnson Controls.

A positive and welcoming company culture is not something you can fake while recruiting women. It’s time to prioritize a welcoming culture that is absent of the common biases that alienate and frustrate women.

4. Create Role Models

In talking to women who hold various roles in field service, one of the biggest drivers of success for them was having female role models at their company. Ashley Lawrence notes that having a role model and someone who is a strong female presence is a draw in itself for prospective employees.

In male-dominated industries like field service, creating a Women’s Network is a great place to start. Women’s Networks provide networking and mentorship opportunities that help more women move into leadership roles, which results in more role models for those considering entering the industry.

The power of having female role models is evident in this anecdote from Lawrence:

“When I started in 2010, the only women on the field service side were all on dispatch call teams or in admin roles. There was no one out in the field doing hands-on work. Now we have a female Field Service Manager and about four technicians who are female. We actually have people leaving other companies to come work for this female manager just because they’ve heard of her reputation. She is a big role model and very good at what she does. There’s been a definite switch from women in admin roles where they are a sympathetic voice to the customer, to now being hands-on in the field, representing the company, managing techs, and dealing with complex issues and escalations in the field.”

Get Started! Recruit Women to Field Service

Putting effort behind recruiting more women to field service is sure to positively impact the growth and success of your company. Using these tips, you can lay a foundation for a more diverse workforce now and in the future.

“I definitely believe there are a lot of opportunities for women within the Field Service Industry. Even if you don’t want to actually work hands-on in the field, there are other important roles within service, such as being the first point of contact to the customer, developing the After Market business, or maybe building the next AI for predictive maintenance. I’ve never seen so much passion and drive as I’ve seen from the technicians within our organization and I am glad I took the step into the Field Service industry,” says Edfast.

To help connect field service companies with talent across the globe, we’ve partnered with Krios to create the Field Service Finder job board. To get your open positions added to the job board, email links of your current job postings to .

 

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen WellsKristen is the Content Marketing Manager at ServiceMax and Editor of Field Service Digital. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held Content Marketing Manager roles at startups including Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from University of California, Santa Barbara.

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