05 Mar 2024
by Amanda Whicher

How to support career progression for a diverse range of technology professionals  

Having a team comprised of individuals from all different backgrounds is imperative to the success of a business, but a lack of diversity continues to be an issue across the technology sector. Whilst we are seeing some progress in terms of enabling diverse talent to access roles across tech, inequality when it comes to career development opportunities is also something that employers must address and rectify.   

Neurodiversity, ethnicity and gender are some of the characteristics that can act as barriers to career progression, so the question is: how can employers ensure every member of their team has the same opportunity to thrive within the tech landscape, regardless of their background?  

  1. Play to individual strengths 

Many people have a predefined idea of what a professional working in tech might look like, or the skills they should possess, but it’s time we challenged ourselves to think differently and create better opportunities for all. Employers need to reconsider what skills add value to their organisation, and how they can leverage the skills, experience and perspectives their diverse team bring to the table. 

It’s crucial to constantly reassess the skills that are in-demand across tech, as the landscape is ever-changing. For instance, a candidate today may not have the skills we’ve historically considered important but might have a wealth of other abilities that will support them to move up the company ladder. Ultimately, redefining the skills required for someone to progress in their role, acknowledging the valuable differences of each member of staff and playing to their unique strengths will ensure everyone is afforded the opportunity to progress. 

  1. Communicate clear pathways  

In order to attract, retain and nurture talent, it’s important for employers to be transparent about the progression available, including rough timelines, and how to access these career development opportunities. Employers have a responsibility to support each member of their team with the training and development required to be successful, and tapping into the learning mindset of their staff will benefit their business as a whole.  

Employers ought to clearly communicate to all staff, so everyone is on the same page about the steps they need to take to progress to the next level. That being said, it’s essential for an employee journey to be tailored, as progression plans will vary for each individual and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. 

  1. Empower people to use their voice  

Creating an open, honest and supportive workplace culture is key to fostering the development of people, enabling them to feel confident in their abilities and empowered to assert their desire to progress within the company. Nevertheless, many female tech professionals feel less comfortable than others expressing their ambition to move into senior roles within their organisation. Employers must prioritise supporting their staff from all walks of life to find their voice and venture out of their comfort zone.  

Employers should create an environment where professionals feel comfortable having conversations about their career progression and developing their skills for the future. Giving regular and meaningful feedback is one effective way of boosting staff morale and self-confidence, as well as reassuring professionals they are valued and, thus, will be adequately rewarded.  

Final thoughts 

Whilst everyone should feel on a level playing field when it comes to career development, nearly half of professionals (48%) say there have been occasions where they felt their chances of career progression at their current organisation have been limited because of their background or an identifying factor, according to our latest Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report. Promisingly, employers have the power to turn this around and ensure technology professionals across the sector have an equal chance to progress their digital careers and continue to make an invaluable contribution to the industry.  

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Amanda Whicher

Amanda Whicher

Director, Specialising in Technology, Hays

Amanda Whicher is a Director at Hays, specialising in Public Services Technology. With over 17 years of experience in the recruitment sector, Amanda has a wealth of insights when it comes to the challenges employers face accessing and retaining talent. She has a particular interest in encouraging more women into tech, to expand their career opportunities and create more diverse and inclusive tech teams.  

Amanda is passionate about matching the top technology experts to organisations, through life-long partnerships and workplace solutions, to support both clients and candidates to meet their ambitions and thrive in the ever-changing world of tech. 

If you would like to tag Hays on socials, our handles are @haysnews on Twitter/X and @hays_uk on Instagram. 

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