In this article, we explore the work of the Tech Talent Charter in delivering greater diversity and inclusion within the British tech industry. The Tech 1.
1. Talent Charter is a UK initiative.
The Tech Talent Charter is a public commitment by organizations to recruiting and employment practices that support diversity and inclusion. Organizations that have signed the charter also pledge to contribute their employment diversity data to an anonymous, centralized data repository.
The Tech Talent Charter is a business-led project, but it has been supported by the UK government since 2017 as part of the UK Digital Strategy.
The UK Digital Strategy was created to build an economy that benefits all UK residents, not just the privileged few, by ensuring that wealth and opportunity are spread evenly throughout society. The strategy formed part of government plans to promote social mobility, ensuring that future generations have more opportunities than their parents and grandparents today.
2. The Tech Talent Charter was created by leading organizations.
This collective recognizes that only through collaboration and hard work can the charter deliver meaningful changes.
In 2019, the UK government sponsored a third round of funding for the Tech Talent Charter, supporting its aim of growing its list of signatories to 600 by 2020.
The Tech Talent Charter is supported by organizations of all sizes, from new start-ups to multinational giants. It spans all industrial sectors, from banking to entertainment.
The initiative is supported by some of the UK’s biggest names, as well as many leading international organizations. A few Tech Talent Charter signatories include:
- Hewlett Packard
- The BBC
- The Telegraph
- Domino’s Pizza
- Selfridges & Co.
- Sage Publishing
3. Women represent only 17% of the UK tech workforce.
Currently, for every ten people studying A-Level (advanced level) computer studies in the UK, only one is female. The Charter was established to bridge such diversity gaps.
The UK also faces an ever-increasing gap in digital skills, with experts predicting that the country will need a million more tech specialists by 2020.
The Tech Talent Charter supports and encourages its signatory organizations to tackle this issue head on: to help create a fairer, more inclusive and diverse tech industry.
Participant organizations implement recruitment drives and adopt practices that increase diversity in the workforce. Signatories can define their own timetable to meet charter objectives and implement the inclusivity strategies that are right for their individual organizations. Signatories measure diversity within their own organizations, sharing data for collective publication on an anonymous basis.
4. The Charter has created recruitment guidelines that promote inclusivity.
These guidelines are designed to help signatory organizations improve women’s representation across the tech sector. The guidelines address:
- Job descriptions: Men and women respond to job descriptions differently. The charter helps organizations word job descriptions in language that is more likely to attract more women applicants.
- Recruitment agencies: When participant organizations engage the services of recruitment agencies, it is vital that these agencies also embrace the charter’s diversity and inclusivity standards.
- Advertising strategies: Again, the language we use can have a huge impact in terms of attracting or repelling different demographics. By broadening advertising strategies, organizations cast a wider net and are ultimately much more likely to enjoy greater diversity.
- The selection process: The Tech Talent Charter encourages participant organizations to critically examine their candidate selection processes from the perspective of a woman.
- De-biasing: Unconscious bias can lead to flawed decision-making in the selection process and needs to be addressed head-on.
- Measuring success: It is vital that participants report the results of recruitment drives to identify any potential areas of improvement.
5. The Charter stages a comprehensive calendar of events.
The Tech Talent Charter’s Women Mean Business Live event took place on November 5, 2019, at The Brewery in London. Over 500 business leaders and entrepreneurs came together for a day of networking, debate, and action, with the aim of addressing the barriers that stand in the way of women entrepreneurs and female-led businesses.
Women Mean Business Liveincorporated inspirational talks from business leaders and founders, who shared their stories of how they scaled the ladder to success and what it took to get there. Experienced professionals provided practical advice, such as how crowdfunding can be used to help entrepreneurs finance their new businesses.
Practical workshops, hosted by women at the peak of their careers, provided mentorship, insightful presentation, and networking opportunities.
A discussion panel chaired by journalists from The Telegraph newspaper brought together people with very different viewpoints to talk about social, cultural, and political barriers that stop women-led businesses from flourishing.
6. The UK has an ever-increasing gap in skilled workers.
UK organizations are falling behind, with 75% of business leaders admitting a “clear lack of digital skills” within their own organization.
Inspiring and incentivizing marginalized and underrepresented groups—be it women, people with disabilities, people of color, or members of the LGBTQ community—could go a long way toward closing this gap, enabling businesses to thrive and individuals to maximize their potential.