Diversity across various sectors has been an important talking point over the past several years, and for good reason. It’s paramount that all industries across the UK and beyond work make sure anyone, regardless of their background, can achieve the job they’re looking for if they have the experience and skillset to do so.
The tech sector is no different. Why then does it still lag behind several other sectors when it comes to diversity? The question is multi-faceted, but there are some relevant answers, and approaches that can be implemented as a result.
Where is the tech sector failing when it comes to diversity?
Based on evidence gathered by various different reports (this piece will cite Tech Nation’s UK-centric assessment), the tech sector falls behind on diversity when compared with countrywide averages.
The first clear diversity concern is the number of male tech employees when compared against female employees. Only 22 per cent of tech directors in the UK are women, whilst only 19 per cent of tech workers overall are female. This is considerably lower than the UK-wide figure, where women make up 49 per cent of the country’s entire workforce.
This isn’t the only area where the tech sector isn’t meeting the levels of diversity it should be. People from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds represent only 15 per cent of the UK’s total tech workforce.
All this data indicates that the tech sector in the UK is dominated by white, male workers, a trend that is followed in many other countries like the U.S.
Why isn’t the tech industry as diverse as it should be?
Knowing the facts, it’s worth assessing the reasons behind them. The first place to start looking is in the pipeline, namely where candidates first enter into positions with tech companies.
Many individuals working within the sector note that improvements are being made in entry-level positions, but the pipeline for higher-level positions remains dominated by white, male candidates.
Part of the issue may therefore lie in internal hierarchical structures within tech companies and the parameters for career growth. This question of progression forms part of a wider issue across all employment in the UK, where Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees in particular, represent only 1.5 per cent of senior roles across the whole private sector.
Organisations should also be considering their workplace culture as well as their hierarchies. Workplace culture concerns in tech continue to be a concern and may still be an aspect preventing a diverse workforce in the sector as a whole.
The need to have inclusive policies for employees is particularly important to ensure people from diverse backgrounds are encouraged into tech and supported through their careers. Tech companies need to ensure they provide family-friendly job benefits that respect the work/life divide. This is particularly important for female employees and employees who may have caring responsibilities for elderly relatives.
A more sector-specific issue is how the tech industry is marketed towards potential employees. Efforts have been made to encourage women to train for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing) positions in recent years, but this hasn’t yet made large enough of an impact.
Since tech jobs are highly technically skilled, encouraging young people to consider them as options early may be a beneficial step.
Diversity at Correla
At Correla, we work to nurture a diverse organisation and continue to assess the ways in which we can make a difference. We manage a diverse workplace where our talented employees can feel comfortable being themselves with access to fair progression opportunities.
A few ways in which Correla supports a diverse workforce are: unlimited holiday, 26 weeks paid gender neutral parent leave, generous pension scheme, locate and dress for your day, no annual appraisals, support for carers, ability to truly be yourself at work and no People policies.
Browse through our current job openings.