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June 20, 2016

A “shameful” lack of diversity continues to embarrass UK technology sector

News: Despite outshining the FTSE for diversity there is a lot of work to be done.

By James Nunns

Tech companies have long talked about embracing diversity but a new report suggests that many are still struggling to have women represented at the senior management level.

A fifth (18%) of companies within London’s tech community have no women at board room level and 48% of tech businesses see women hold less than a quarter of senior management roles.

While this highlights that there is still a lot to be done when it comes to gender diversity, there are some positives.

A fifth of tech firms in the UK are run by women, compared to just 5% of FTSE 100 companies and 4% of FTSE 250 businesses.

According to the report by Tech London Advocates 60% of London’s tech community acknowledge that their business has actively taken steps to increase diversity in recruitment stages.

Although steps have been taken, it is the belief of 60% of Tech London Advocates that tech companies still do not reflect the diversity of the city, something which remains unchanged since last year, despite widespread calls for change.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: "Technology’s gender problem has not gone away. Female CEOs have been instrumental to the rise of London’s tech sector, creating some of the city’s most exciting businesses, but the lack of wider representation for women at senior levels is shameful."

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The report has been released to coincide with the launch of London Technology Week which aims to celebrate and cultivate London as a global powerhouse of technology innovation.

Helen Lamb, Vice Head, Strategic Pursuits Unit, Global Delivery Group, Fujitsu, said: "While it is positive that one in five UK tech firms have a female boss, the fact still remains that one in five London tech companies lack a single woman at the board level. This is bad news for our industry.

"Lack of diversity stunts businesses’ ability to communicate effectively with their broad range of clients and customers. In our fast moving industry, the long term success of any company depends on maintaining a mixed workforce, with a range of skills, values and perspectives. The inclusion of women at board level must be seen as an advantage, not an obligation, within the tech sector."

To address the deficit Lamb said that there needs to be work done to drive recruitment of woman at a graduate and apprentice level.

Following that these women must be retained within the business through the, "provision of flexible working to support womenthroughout their career lifecycle and support from women’s networks," said Lamb.

The championing of women by the senior team within the organisation should see senior women acting as both mentors and role models, something that Lamb says will see the disparity at board level close, in ten years’ time.

The survey, based on 433 members of Tech London Advocates, highlights the need for a lot more to be done when it comes to bridging the gender diversity gap.

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