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How Etsy Has Retained Its Female Software Engineers For The Past 10 Years

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at October 5, 2021

Ten years ago, only 6% (three) of Etsy’s software engineers were female.

Two years later, the company increased the percentage to 22%.

Today, more than 30% of Etsy’s engineering team is female, almost double most industry benchmarks.

This is quite an impressive feat, given the fact that women today hold fewer jobs in the tech industry than women did in the 1980s. Even amidst the Global Resignation and exit of women from the workforce last September, Etsy has managed to retain its female software engineers.

Raina Moskowitz, Etsy’s Chief Operations, Strategy, and People Officer explains how the company mission is illustrated through its engineering team.

“Etsy’s mission is to ‘Keep Commerce Human’ and an integral part of that mission is our commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. This incorporates gender inclusivity, including for women and all people who are from marginalized genders. Our company remains a long-time leader in gender diversity, with women making up half of our executive team, nearly half of our company, and nearly 44% of our senior leadership.”

According to Etsy’s 2020 Global Seller Census 81% of their sellers around the world also identify as women, creating jobs and incomes for themselves while adding value to their communities. “As a workplace of choice for women, we’re able to create a foundation of support and empowerment for the community of female entrepreneurs on our platform,” Moskowitz adds.

She believes the organization has been able to attract and retain female talent amidst a global pandemic, great resignation, and in a predominantly male industry because all employees can make an impact. “Etsy empowers employees to work on high-impact projects that positively affect the millions of creative entrepreneurs who sell on our platform.”

The Role of Competitive Benefits

Moskowitz also credits Etsy’s competitive suite of benefits for retaining their female engineers. Offerings include (but aren’t limited to) backup child care with local partners and personal networks, a 26-week gender-neutral parental leave policy, adoption and surrogacy assistance, mental health days, and a new parent support credit. The credit allows new parents to trade in up to 14 weeks of parental leave in exchange for a cash payment that can be used to assist with childcare, or other forms of support, as they transition back to work.

“We’re also excited to offer a new perk next year called ‘30 Days Away,’ our temporary relocation policy where employees will be able to work from anywhere they choose for up to 30 consecutive days per calendar year,” says Moskowitz.

The Role of Learning and Development

Moskowitz explains that Etsy develops rigorous processes and programs to mitigate bias to ensure fair hiring processes, performance evaluations, promotion decisions, pay equity, and more. The company provides managers with unconscious bias training and training to hire with diversity in mind. They also focus on ensuring diverse candidate pipelines during the recruitment process.

“We invest in management training programs and learning and development opportunities to ensure that employees of all backgrounds come, stay, and thrive at Etsy,” Moskowitz adds. “As an example, this fall we are offering training and tools for managers and teams to evolve their practices for a hybrid world, exploring new ways to build connections, foster inclusivity, implement equitable collaboration practices, and bring out the best in our people in a blended work environment.”

The Role of Employee Resource Groups

Since fall 2020, Etsy has worked to expand its internal mentorship and sponsorship programs to provide more professional development opportunities to women and engineers from underrepresented communities.

Additionally, Etsy has an Employee Resource Group program with nine active ERGs, including groups organized around marginalized gender identities, parents, mental health, and more.

Moskowitz continues: “We believe that our strong mission, culture, and benefits are good for our employees and their families and good for business. In fact, we have found that at Etsy, our overall employee retention is significantly higher than the industry average and is higher among parents than non-parents. Women get promoted at the same rate (or slightly higher) than men, and parents and non-parents receive comparable performance ratings.”

Moskowitz recognized the competition for talent has never been greater for Etsy. Yet they still manage to attract and retain female employees by ensuring they have the flexibility and support they need, both professionally and personally.


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