Every woman in the tech industry has heard the horror stories: Companies where female workers are passed over for promotions, left out of key meetings, banished to the “mommy track.”
So, even when a job looks great from the outside, how can women determine whether they’ll actually be supported, promoted and treated fairly after they sign the offer letter? After all, few companies release detailed diversity stats, and good luck getting firms to open up about their gender pay gap or talk about their struggles with implicit bias.
Two new sites are tackling this problem by collecting data and insights about how well various companies support their female employees. Silicon Valley start-up Doxa focuses on tech firms, compiling information and acting as a matchmaker between women who want to work in the industry and the companies that are looking for them. On Fairygodboss, women create profiles and comment anonymously on their experiences at companies where they work or have worked.
Those insights are important. While women can find salary information on Glassdoor or learn more about potential colleagues on LinkedIn, those sites don’t reveal much about a company’s culture or the environment for women. And happiness at work can depend heavily on those factors. Indeed, women between the ages of 35 and 50 say they want five things from their careers: to flourish, excel, have meaningful work, financial security, and power, according to a recent survey by the Center for Talent Innovation.
Doxa, launched earlier this month, collects data from tech companies about their diversity stats, benefits and company policies, and also surveys company employees to get their take on their firms’ culture and female-friendliness. Women using the site can take a quiz that includes questions about what kind of policies and benefits are important to them, and also assesses their work styles and values. Doxa then uses a dating site-style algorithm to match users with companies that might be a good fit.
So far, Doxa has ten participating companies, including some pretty big names—Eventbrite, Kiva, Lyft, Shyp, and Instacart. CEO and founder Nathalie Miller was working at Instacart when she had the idea for the site. Miller says more than 20 additional companies have already reached out to her to get involved. “They want to build diversity and inclusion into the DNA from the start and are brave about to sharing their data about their employees with us,” she says. Doxa is planning a $1.5 million seed round this summer.
Johnny Brackett, head of communications at Shyp, says the company sees Doxa as great tool for improving its pipeline. “Diversity is critically important, but the problem of attracting and hiring diverse tech employees is real,” he says. Shyp, which reports that 25% of its employees are women, has been expanding quickly, jumping from 15 to 60 employees in the past 15 months. “Doxa will make it easier to find female candidates, and for them to find us, and because she is being matched to us, we already know she’s probably a good fit.”
Georgene Huang’s frustrations during her own job search inspired her to create Fairygodboss. She was pregnant with her second child and particularly interested in finding out about the environment for working mothers at potential employers. “I could find out anything about restaurants near my apartment, but not about that,” says Huang, who was previously head of enterprise business at Dow Jones and a managing director at Bloomberg Ventures. She jettisoned the search and started the site with partner Romy Newman, who previously handled strategic partnerships at Chartbeat.
The site, which launched in March, summarizes the benefits offered by employers (paid maternity leave, flex time, on-site childcare, etc.) and allows users to exchange messages to find out more about the culture at particular companies. While many of the comments tend to center around areas like work-life balance or women in leadership, Huang says Fairygodboss doesn’t limit the conversation to particular topics. “Not everyone is a working mother, or wants to be CEO,” she says.
Huang says the site has few thousand users so far. Many are job seekers, but others want to share their stories to help other women. “A lot of women, and older women, see it as paying it forward,” she says. Alison Parks, a senior-level technical writer, joined Fairygodboss this week. Parks says that, after dealing with some unpleasant politics at a previous job, she plans to poll site users about the culture and political atmosphere of any potential future employer. “It’s a great service that provides information that one ordinarily wouldn’t have access to,” she says.