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Gender diversity in the UK tech industry 'still terrible'


As a woman in tech, I have been involved in several initiatives to encourage girls and women in STEM or in tech. But while they are well intentioned, they are not yet successful. How do we know? The proportion of women in IT is substantially unchanged since the 1990s - and lower than in the 1980s. The linked article quotes 21% of IT professionals and 12.5% of engineers. I agree with Martha Lane Fox, progress is not where it should be.


Not only women: many groups find it harder to progress in the tech industry. There is not as much data, but once you're aware, you notice diversity problems for lots of communities. Most difficult are the intersectional challenges: being black and ADHD, or trans and disabled, make life and career extra hard.


But we must not give up. Here are a few suggestions to try in your business:

  • Challenge the impact of xxx in STEM programmes. Ask earlier cohorts what could be improved

  • Make sure initiatives around senior roles include both management and technical streams. Otherwise you risk cannibalising one to improve the other

  • Review your recruiting posts for inclusive language. For example: https://blog.ongig.com/diversity-and-inclusion/inclusive-job-descriptions/

  • Support senior women in outreach activities. Encourage them to be visible and to take time away from the day job

  • Advocate parental leave and school-friendly hours for all parents, make it normal to take time out of the workforce for any family situation, not just for women


Above all, review career paths. Think about how you assess the team at the end of the year. Anyone who is in a senior role or moving towards it will be asked to show leadership. Review how work is allocated. Is everyone in the team being given similar chances to contribute and lead? Do certain jobs go to the same few people?


Review internal progression rates. Are the ratios of a particular community the same at junior and senior levels? If there are more juniors, it means there's a good opportunity to grow them internally without needing to wait for a hiring cycle


There are no easy answers, but you can still help. Aim to listen more than you tell. Ask your team: what do they need from you? What is working for them? What isn't? Assume all your team have untapped potential. What can you do to unlock it?


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3 commentaires


EDI is a key agenda, which TechSolent is committed to driving progress on, for a stronger Tech Sector and a fairer society.

J'aime

This issue of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is critical for the Tech Sector and society Sarah. Thanks for posting. Leaders in the Tech Sector need to consider this. By not embracing EDI they are effectively:


Locking themselves out of the diverse talent available to them


In danger of confining their organisations to "Group Think", which is the hallmark of non-diverse groups


Blinding themselves to the insights that diverse talent can provide into customer/client needs and experiences


"Contributing" to the continued exclusion of diverse talent from the labour market.


They need to ask themselves, "why would we do that?"

Then they need to ask themselves "What are we going to do about this?"


J'aime

Great post Sarah. Its a really key topic and we should definitely be driving to resolve this as part of the broader TechSolent agenda, even if it takes generations!

J'aime
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