Diversity (or lack thereof) in IT has been a hot topic in the news and among our clients in recent months. And it's true: IT departments are \n\nnotorious for their lack of diversity, and the problem is only getting worse. Over the past few years, the number of women and underrepresented \n\nminorities (URMs) in IT has been dropping steadily. CIOs and other IT leaders can follow these simple steps to attract and retain women and \n\nURMs into their IT departments:\u2022 Adjust the language in your job description. Research has shown that women are less likely to apply for positions unless they \n\nmeet every requirement in the job description, while men are more likely to send in an application if they meet three-quarters or more of the criteria \n\non the list. When writing job descriptions, companies often list required qualities in a candidate in the same sentence as qualities that are not \n\nrequired but that are desirable. Instead, if you're writing a listing for a network administrator, for example, and virtualization skills are a plus but not \n\nentirely necessary for the position, list this skill separately from the other required skills.\u2022 Recruit at women's and minority-serving institutions. Over the past decade, the historically black colleges and universities \n\n(HBCU) and the Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI) have received billions of dollars from government agencies to benefit their science and \n\ntechnology programs. These programs graduate thousands of qualified minority candidates in technology and engineering every year. Additionally, \n\nseveral highly regarded women's colleges are starting up engineering and computer science programs that are growing quickly. Smith College's \n\nPicker Engineering program is an excellent example of this. IT Recruiting Definition and Solutions\u2022 Reach out through professional groups and attend job fairs for minorities and women in IT. Professional networks for women \n\nand minorities in IT, such as the National Society of Black Engineers or Women in Technology International, are plentiful and are a great way to \n\nreach out to diverse candidates. Many of these professional groups also host online job boards or listings and, often, events. The biggest \n\nconferences for women and minorities in IT are the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and the Richard Tapia Celebration of \n\nDiversity in Computing. \u2022 Promote work\/life balance and a flexible workplace. Work\/life balance, as well as a culture of flexibility in the workplace, is the \n\nsingle most important factor when attracting and retaining women and minorities. Although these types of cultural adjustments have historically been \n\naimed at attracting and retaining women (who are more likely than men to be juggling childcare along with a career), anecdotal evidence suggests \n\nthat these qualities in a workplace are important to minorities as well, especially if they are foreign-born. Work Life Balance: PWC Gets It Right\u2022 Focus on service delivery and IT's role in the big picture. Studies have shown that women and minorities look for work that \n\nthey feel is more meaningful, helpful, and engaging. The least desirable position would be a replaceable "cog in the wheel." It's therefore important to \n\navoid the trap of becoming an IT department that is completely inwardly focused and heads-down in the daily grind. To create a culture that is \n\nattractive to women and URMs, make sure you focus on the services that IT provides to the business and on what these services enable the \n\nbusiness to do. \u2022 Make time for training and skills advancement during the workday. Almost 80 percent of mid-level women in IT who have \n\npartners claim that their partners work full-time. For men, this number is almost 38 percent. The end result? Women in IT are much less likely to \n\nhave free time outside of work to invest in developing and maintaining their technology skills. Thus, it's important to make time during the workday \n\nfor all employees to engage in training and skills development and allow all employees to excel in their positions.\u2022 Set up mentoring programs, affinity groups, and communities for women and URMs. Studies have shown that mentoring and \n\naffinity groups improve effectiveness, confidence, work satisfaction, and talent retention. Furthermore, when women in IT were surveyed on what \n\nbarriers existed for them in their field, most cited lack of role models, mentors, sponsors, or champions as top challenges. In the end, executive accountability and commitment are key to achieving diversity. Getting executives onboard and creating a formal \n\naccountability program for diversity is the first, and some say the most critical, step. In addition to a formal action plan, some companies create task \n\nforces to draft the initiative and monitor its progress. Benchmark your success with an annual employee survey on job satisfaction and additional \n\nservices they feel you should offer.Rachel Dines is a Researcher at Forrester \n\nResearch where she serves Infrastructure & Operations professionals. She focuses on focuses on data center technologies, colocation, facilities, \n\ninfrastructure, and management as well as virtual infrastructure and automation technologies.