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November 23, 2017

Can data sharing improve diversity in tech?

Tech Charter aims to reduce the inequality across workforces in the tech industry, can it succeed?

By April Slattery

Recruitment and pay data is expected to be shared in a bid to close the gender imbalance gap amongst workforces in the technology sector.

Employers in the UK across various services including technology, media and telecoms have shown their commitment to improving diversity of IT staff in the workplace by joining forces to make change.

Almost 100 of the country’s biggest employers in computing have signed up to the Tech Talent Charter, which requires businesses to share recruitment and gender pay data for their staff however there are no fixed targets to improve the overall diversity.

Large companies such as Google and Uber are amongst those that have shed light on the inequality and lack of diversity in the workplace and the technology sector specifically, following a string of scandals from each.

As a result, businesses are focusing their attention on the dominant male proportion of technology professionals and bringing more women in to even out the playing field.

DCan data sharing improve diversity in tech?

Data about recruitment and pay diversity must be shared.

Workplace diversity awareness has vastly increased following a push by politicians to improve the way companies report gender pay and employment imbalances.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will only provide a small proportion of funding, focusing on collecting data about the pay and recruitment of women in tech.

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Just 17% of technology specialists across the UK were women in 2015, according to the British Computer Society’s Chartered Institute for IT.

However, it is not all bad news for gender inequality and diversity in the workplace as almost 28% of board positions across FTSE companies are occupied by women, which is a tremendous increase of 12.5% since 2011.

Furthermore, the amount of men has also significantly decreased on FTSE boards with the total number of board members plummeting from 152 to just 8.

Sir Philip Hampton said: “We must now renew commitment to this important issue for UK business to fully harness the under-utilised potential of the many talented women in the workplace.”

Diversity has been a challenge for many years across various sectors with the technology sector being a real talking point as the government aims to encourage the younger generation to take on STEM subjects and look into career opportunities.

In the recent Budget Philip Hammond announced the boost digital skills and STEM sector would get, which aims to close this diversity gap that has mounted within companies.

Those in the field support these efforts in the budget, agreeing that diversity is highly important in the workplace.

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HP has demonstrated its commitment to encouraging this development across the technology industry by introducing a ‘Returners Program’ that focuses on encouraging women back in the workplace.

George Brasher, Managing Director for HP UK and Ireland said: “Diversity helps drive new business, fuel innovation, and attract and attain the best employees. Words are not enough; we need meaningful actions to drive change.

“That is why the Tech Talent Charter is so important in the UK and why we are delighted to be a founder signatory. We have to work together as an industry to address the dire diversity imbalance within UK tech.

“As a starting point HP will commit to hiring a minimum of 50% female interns each year and we are introducing a “Returners Program” which will focus on encouraging women back into the workplace through fixed term maternity cover, which we hope will in turn lead to permanent positions.”

All UK companies and public sector organisations with 250 or more employees must produce a report regarding gender diversity data, including difference in salaries, wages and bonuses by April next year.

The initiative was originally launched two years ago, which brought on global tech giants including BT, Cisco, Deloitte, HP, Dell and the BBC after the government gave backing to the project in the new digital strategy commissioned this year.

 

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