Anyone who works in tech has heard of the industry’s lack of diversity. You might not have been personally affected (count yourself lucky) but maybe you’ve noticed an injustice somewhere – that women are heavily outnumbered by men and make up just 19% of the tech workforce, for example, or that a neurodiverse colleague isn’t getting the support they need. Perhaps you’ve read the statistics that tell us only 8.5% of senior leaders are from ethnic minorities.
No matter what your situation, it’s clear that something has to change. Here are three ways to start.
Start tough conversations
Business leaders need to recognise there’s a problem, but that might not happen without starting uncomfortable conversations. Whether it’s understanding when team members have felt unfairly treated or learning how everyday practices discriminate against potential and current employees, asking the right questions is a first step we can all take.
Directors have to be open to answering questions that they haven’t faced before. They also need to educate themselves about unconscious bias in order to introduce changes that make a difference to underrepresented groups. DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) consultancies can assess and help improve company policies, and hiring their services shows a real commitment to change.
Close pay gaps
It’s an issue that should have been resolved long before 2022: only 8% of tech businesses have no gender pay gap. Surely, we can do better. The ‘trend’ has been kept well and truly alive because women are missing out on promotions. In fact, for every 100 men promoted to a more senior role only 86 women climb up the career ladder.
To close the pay gap, businesses have to address the figures unearthed by mandatory pay reporting and take action. It’s time to end tech’s ‘boys’ club’ mentality too. That means increasing female representation at all levels to show all women that they can earn the same money as their male colleagues.
Ditch dated perceptions about degrees
University degrees show that people have ability and knowledge to take on certain tasks but they’re not the only way to find out if someone is suitable for a role. Why, in an age of extortionately high student fees and online assessments, do we place so much emphasis on recruiting candidates from an academic background?
If we want to be truly inclusive, we need to look at options that don’t punish candidates who haven’t had the time or money to study at university. Online assessments replace the need for degrees and can be built to test a candidate’s skills in a much more useful way. One option costs the candidate thousands of pounds per year, the other, the cost of Wi-Fi and access to a computer.
Why change is needed
Making tech more diverse isn’t just the moral thing to do; it makes business sense too. In fact, if graduates from ethnic minorities were given the same opportunities and support as white graduates, this diverse group could contribute an extra £24 billion to the UK economy.
At QA, we’re doing what we can to improve the situation. Our recruitment process uses AI to minimise unconscious bias and to give the best tech talent in the UK a chance to kickstart the career they deserve, no matter what their background. After all, opening tech roles to a more diverse talent pool is the only way forward if we want to build a fair, innovative and thriving industry.
To find our more about QA's commitment to top tech talent - regardless of background - contact our team today.