Profiles

GoDaddy Emerges as Unexpected Champion for Women in Tech

Today, it’s more common than not for companies to make significant investments in supporting women technologists. But most companies haven’t faced the same challenges as GoDaddy, the web hosting company that has been hard at work to shake its sexist reputation. For years, GoDaddy faced public criticism and gained notoriety for its past advertisements featuring “GoDaddy Girls.” At the same time,  the company was working hard to improve its own culture internally, both to better reflect its commitment to diversity and to better support its women technologists.

GoDaddy has addressed these challenges with a top-down approach. With women making up more than half of GoDaddy’s customers, it was clear to CEO Blake Irving that turning around the company’s reputation would be a top priority.

Upon his arrival as CEO in 2013, GoDaddy kicked off a number of diversity initiatives that have had the unwavering support of key leaders in the company. These women-oriented initiatives included leadership engagement, in which GoDaddy executives became personally involved in conversations about gender diversity, boosted the company’s recruiting efforts and participated in the newly-formed GoDaddy Women in Technology networking group.

‘Talent Magnets’ are key role models

Another key initiative included recruiting and hiring prominent and accomplished female executives, referred to as “talent magnets” at GoDaddy. Executives like Chief Technology Officer Elissa Murphy and Senior Vice President of Digital Identity Lauren Antonoff are visible role models for other women technologists who are considering a career at GoDaddy, or already work there.

Indu Khosla, a software engineering manager at GoDaddy, has personally witnessed the change in the company’s internal culture since she started working there in 2010 as a senior software developer, and later, a team-lead.

“When I moved into a management position, I noticed there were women in leadership roles, and there was diversity,” Indu recalled. “Now, there’s more of a conversation around diversity, and more support for underrepresented groups in the company.”

Indu has also played an active role in GoDaddy’s hiring initiatives, which includes annual trips to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC).

“We’ve worked hard to achieve a balance in hiring,” Indu said, adding that in 2015, GoDaddy’s interns and new grad hires were 39 percent female, up from just 14 percent in 2014.

Indu also actively participates in the interview process for female candidates.

“Two of the interns I spoke to personally said that having a female technical woman in a leadership position went into their decision to join GoDaddy,” Indu explained.

“It’s all about perception — if you see other women in leadership roles, you can see yourself there too. It seems more achievable when you see other women at the top, and this is especially important because we’re focused on hiring more young female engineers,” she continued.

Mentorship and transparency support diversity

GoDaddy’s efforts to turn around its image — both internally and externally — have been paying off. Today, the company’s Women in Technology group has nearly 600 members, some of whom are men. Members volunteer their time to help each other grow professionally. A new mentorship program launched in 2015.

Additionally, GoDaddy’s targeted recruitment efforts are also showing promising results. Today, 75 percent of the company’s technical recruiting team is women, which helps create a more level playing field for existing and incoming women technologists.

And this fall at GHC 2015, GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving made headlines when he shared results of the company’s salary parity survey and announced that company-wide, women are paid 0.28 percent more than their male counterparts, with non-technical women making 0.35 percent more than men. Unsurprisingly, technical women are still paid less than men, but the gap is quite small at 0.11 percent. At the management level, GoDaddy’s data showed that female managers are paid 3.58 percent less than men.

GoDaddy’s willingness to share these findings publicly — even the continuing salary disparity in technical roles and for managers— is a sign the company has made much-needed progress toward rehabilitating its public image and building an inclusive, supportive and welcoming culture for female technologists.

Though significant challenges remain at GoDaddy and many other tech companies — attrition rates among women technologists are notably higher than for men, for example — GoDaddy has taken important steps in the right direction.

As Blake told Wired, “If we learn more and get smarter about what are causing these fundamental issues in the industry, we’ll know what else to address. Diversity is important – more diverse teams build better products. Period.”

Image credit: GoDaddy