The case for building diverse talent pipelines
Today it is clear to see that there has been a positive shift in supporting diversity and inclusivity across the technology industry. I have witnessed this through our role of collaborating with techUK. Whilst the ethical reasons for promoting diversity are obvious, something that is often overlooked is that a diverse workforce leads to diversity of thought, which in turn steers innovation and success.
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, businesses that rank in the top-quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity, outperform those in the bottom quartile by 36% in profitability. This emphasises the importance of diversity not just as an ethical concept but as a veritable force to drive business growth.
It is undeniable that diversity and business success run hand in hand. As a leader in Diversity and Inclusivity today, I want to share in this opinion piece how we have achieved this to help support those who wish to become more diverse.
But what does a truly diverse workforce look like? Does it only refer to better racial and gender representation? At FDM we believe that in order to achieve true diversity we must look beyond the usual tick boxes and focus on people.
No STEM, No Problem
One of the secrets to our success in being inclusive in the technology industry is in part due to breaking the longstanding myth that you must have a STEM degree to work in tech. At FDM, our mantra is “No STEM, No Problem”. What this means is, we encourage people from non-STEM backgrounds to apply to our technical programmes. While our consultants are broadly trained in either Business or Technical pathways, they can come from diverse streams. Can you get tech jobs without a STEM degree? We say: Yes. With the right attitude and transferrable skills, we can help launch successful careers in tech for fresh graduates, ex-forces personnel and those who want to return to work after a career break. Moreover, 10% of our internal IT staff are apprentices, without degrees at all - case in point.
There are currently an estimated 2.1 million people out of the labour market, of which 89% are women. According to a report by PWC, “addressing the career gap penalty for female professionals can deliver significant economic benefits”. The report projects an additional income of £1.7 billion annually by bringing more women returners into the workforce.
Returner programmes help businesses hire experienced talent who may have been overlooked by traditional recruitment methods. Bringing back returners particularly in the IT sector addresses the digital skills shortage and helps businesses build more diverse teams whilst reducing the gender pay gap.
The FDM Returners Programme is another way that we are trying to promote diverse talent pipelines both internally and for our clients. FDM is a living case study for the success of these individuals in the workplace, having hired over 330 Returners to support and lead on client projects since 2016.
With a skills shortage in almost every industry, businesses have been forced to re-evaluate talent acquisition across all levels. According to data from GOV.UK, 86% of employers say that apprenticeship programmes enabled them to develop skills relevant to their organisation. FDM’s apprenticeship programme is part of our commitment to help reduce the digital skills gap and ensure that a career in tech or digital is accessible to everyone.
Many of our clients have or are in the process of reducing operational staff in favour of more Technology focussed staff. I would seek to encourage those organisations to consider re-skilling and developing existing staff members with knowledge of your business rather than looking towards external options for all new roles.
I have seen several successful apprenticeship programmes as well as other re-skilling initiatives within our client base with varied approaches and groups of talent being identified and supported.