I recently attended Women 2.0, where female founders, CEOs, investors and executives gathered. I was inspired by mentors Leah Busque of TaskRabbit and Glam Media cofounder Dianna Mullins insight into how they defined their company culture, recruited staff and built teams through various stages of growth. In the midst of all this leaning-in, one (male) panelist ,a recruiter with well-known executive staffing agency, threw out some sobering stats: out of 330 searches only 16% were filled with female executives, and the majority of positions filled by women were in HR and Marketing. The candidate pool was reported to be a similar statistic - that only 15-20% were women for top executive positions.
His advice: more women should learn to code. This recruiter's firm has no female partners on the West Coast. He has worked with only 4-5 female investors, and less than 6% of their clients had women founders and CEOs.
I'm not sure if there's some comfort in pointing out that recruiters are sourcing candidates that their clients will hire. And finding candidates with the cultural fit, founder fit, fit with the hiring manager is what great recruiters do. The candidate pool and the hired executives are going to reflect what his client companies ask for not necessarily a representation of the overall talent pool. So if you want to hire more women - and attention bros, diversity of your workforce has been shown to produce innovation, Silicon Valley's holy grail - start asking for more women. A good recruiter will fill binders for you.
Or if you don't want to hire women, you can always name the interview room the "Bromance Chamber."