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3 ways to make tech more diverse

Tech has a diversity problem, but what can be done to help address it? We discuss three key ways in which individuals and businesses can make progress.

If you work in the tech industry, you’ve probably noticed the industry’s lack of diversity. You might not have been personally affected but maybe you’ve noticed an injustice somewhere – that women are heavily outnumbered by men and make up just 26% of the 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 the situation, it’s clear that something has to change. Here are three ways to start:

  1. Ask for feedback

Helping people recognise the issue often means 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. People often feel uncomfortable raising these sorts of issues, so having an ‘open ear’ helps people to feel relaxed about raising concerns in a non-judgmental atmosphere. 

It’s also important to consider unconscious bias in order to introduce changes that make a difference to underrepresented groups. What’s more, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is not just about fairness: having a range of experiences and viewpoints can be a real advantage in how you approach business needs and challenges. A recent report showed that businesses with inclusive teams tended to make better decisions 87% of the time.

  1. Close pay gaps

It’s an issue that should have been resolved long before 2024: the gender pay gap stands at 16% in the tech industry, 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 87 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. 

  1. 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. With people now openly talking about ‘degree inflation’ (that is, the acknowledgment that many roles require a degree when in reality, one is not required to perform well), more businesses are offering alternative routes into the workforce.

Apprenticeships are proving their worth as a way of moulding talent to your needs, in a job market where there is a severe shortage of tech skills in emerging fields.

Online assessments replace the need for degrees and can be built to test a candidate’s skills in a much more useful way. Regardless of background, research shows that employees learn around 70% of their skills on the job – so perhaps we need to give more consideration to potential and attitude than we do currently.

Why change is needed 

Making tech more diverse isn’t just the right 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, they 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, regardless of 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 out more about QA's commitment to top tech talent - regardless of background - contact our team today. 

*This page was originally published on 7th November 2022 and updated on 8th March 2024.

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