In the latest edition of The Digital Bulletin, David Hanks, COO at mthree features an article where he talks about the importance of building diverse technology teams.
You can also read David's article below:
Over the past few years, talk has increasingly been turning to the distinct lack of diversity within the technology industry, and the good news is that we are finally starting to see this translate into meaningful action.
There are an ever-growing number of diversity initiatives across the UK, Europe and beyond that are beginning to make some really encouraging progress.
One of these is the Tech Talent Charter, a non-profit organisation that is working to address inequality in the UK by driving inclusion and diversity in a practical and measurable way.
Hundreds of businesses in the UK and Ireland have signed the charter, with signatories encouraged to tackle their lack of diversity head-on by making a number of pledges in relation to their approach to recruitment and retention.
Tech Talent Charter recently released its second annual benchmarking report, which showed that, among its signatories, women now make up 24% of tech employees, up from 19% last year. However, there is still a lot more work to be done; the benchmarking report also revealed that only 17% of the wider tech workforce currently are women.
This demonstrates both the effectiveness of employer-led initiatives, and the need for more businesses to start actively addressing their lack of diversity.
The early success of gender-based initiatives such as these also highlights the importance of ensuring that our inclusivity efforts are truly intersectional, taking into account everything from ethnicity and age, to mental health and neurodiversity.
Only by regularly benchmarking all of these groups will we be able to gain full insight into our progress, what has been working successfully and exactly where further work needs to be done.
It’s also crucial to acknowledge that changing the attitudes of employers is just one half of the battle.
Concerns are often raised about the lack of diversity in senior roles, particularly in the boardroom. The UK government’s Parker Review report published at the beginning of February showed that, shockingly, 63% of the FTSE 100 have no board members from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The initial report in 2017 recommended that all FTSE 100 boards should have at least one director from an ethnic minority background by 2021, which it will now be almost impossible to achieve.
However, while a growing number of businesses may now be keen to diversify their senior leadership teams, the chronic underrepresentation of minority groups in the past has resulted in a shortage of leaders from diverse backgrounds.
This means that this sort of change clearly isn’t going to happen overnight, and tackling this particular issue will be a more long-term undertaking. In order to genuinely resolve this, we need to ensure that we are building diverse tech businesses from the ground up.
There are a number of different strategies employers can put in place to ensure they are offering equal opportunities for exciting young talent, regardless of who they are or where they have come from.
This can include sourcing talent from diverse educational institutions, rethinking essential requirements in job descriptions to avoid deterring female applicants, and working with recruiters or talent sourcing companies that share their values when it comes to diversity.
Only by actively working to build an inclusive junior talent pipeline will the industry will naturally have diverse representation at board level in years to come.