We Need To Talk About Diversity
It is no secret that there is a gender diversity problem in the tech sector. Women occupy just 17% of tech jobs. Fewer than one in ten of these women are in leadership positions in the sector. Women make up only 20% of tech founders, and only 4% of software engineers.
Digital businesses are innovative and pioneering in a number of ways, but we still face a great challenge in ensuring our sector workforce represents its diverse and thriving customer base.
This problem is exacerbated by the lack of female representation in the industry – this can be seen at tech events, conferences and dinners.
No More Manels
Role models are incredibly important, and young women cannot be what they cannot see. Representation is vital in ensuring we are encouraging more diversity in the tech talent pipeline.
That’s why techUK is committing to the following objectives:
- Abolishing ‘Manels’ - male only panels - at our events;
- Ensuring we have gender diversity on our membership councils.
While we have a good track record – our recent Annual Dinner had three female keynotes – we still have work to do. This means ensuring that we are working transparently to address gender diversity at our events.
We will record and report on our success rates for 2017, publishing metrics in January 2018, highlighting where more work needs to be done.
The tech industry has a great number of female innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders – and we will do all we can to shine a light on these role models.
Other Steps we are Taking
This is just one of the many steps we are taking to increase the female representation in the industry. techUK is working with its members and partners to address the issue through the pipeline through targeted intervention.
We are working with the WISE campaign and CA technologies to take the “People Like Me” project digital. The resources work by allowing girls to use their natural tendency to define themselves by adjectives, then translate the descriptions to show which type of STEM careers could be of interest.
techUK also launched our Returners Hub on International Women’s Day this year. The hub features a number of tech companies who either run dedicated returners programmes or have a flexible working policy looking to take more returners. It also hosts free resources for parents who are looking to get back to the sector after a career break.
Lastly, techUK is a proud supporter of the Tech Talent Charter (TTC). The TTC is a commitment by organisations to a set of undertakings that aim to deliver greater diversity in the tech workforce of the UK, one that better reflects the make-up of the population.
Not Just Tokenism
The importance of increasing the number of women in tech is self-evident. First of all, and quite beyond any of the business benefits, it’s the right thing to do. Equality is something we strive for, for its own sake.
But there are also well-document direct benefits to businesses and organisations. Products, services and ideas that originate from non-diverse teams do not reflect the global markets that the tech sector serves. Gender diverse companies are 45 per cent more likely to improve market share, achieve 53% higher returns on equity, and are 70 per cent more likely to report successfully capturing new markets.
There are a plethora of reasons why we should strive for diversity – but taking tangible action is the first step in bringing about meaningful change. That’s why we are proud to commit to abolishing male only panels and we hope our members will follow in our footsteps.
For further information on techUK's Women in Tech programme: