Lauren McMullan, VP & General Manager, SharkNinja London shares why now, more than ever, there is a prime opportunity for companies to diversify their hiring.
Recruitment Boom for Tech Industry
It will be years before we can conclusively define the beneficiaries of the of the past year, but it’s clear some industries adapted more effectively to overcome the challenges of lockdowns and the economic shock.
One such industry is the UK’s technology industry, which has seen a boom in recruitment and growth in headcount, now employing more individuals than at any time in its history according to official ONS data.
Yet this impressive growth comes at a time when the UK employment rate is suffering. According to ONS data released in June, the UK unemployment rate has dropped once again, falling to 4.7% in the three months to April 2021, this representing about 1.6 million people, with those 35 and under accounting for 80% of job losses.
However, this does present technology firms with a notable opportunity. Diversity in technology and the wider STEM industries has historically fallen short and remains a key challenge for the sector both in the UK and globally.
Lack of Diversity in Tech
According to independent body Diversity In Tech, just 15% of the UK tech workforce is black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) and a major report from Inclusive Boards, found that 8.5% of senior leaders in the sector were found to be from a BAME background. What’s more, 65% of boards in the top tech firms surveyed had no female directors, while over two-fifths of executive teams had no female representation at all.
It is imperative that the technology sector ensures tomorrows innovators are representative of the world we live in. The benefits to this shift change will be far-reaching. More diverse teams can help companies to eliminate conscious and unconscious bias, leading to more inclusive innovation, better products and customer experiences that drive loyalty and profitability. In McKinsey’s Diversity Matters report, it was found companies with high levels of ethnic and cultural diversity were 33% more likely to outperform their competitors.
Not only will firms reap the benefits of having wide ranging perspectives and experiences at their fingertips, they will be helping talented people from diverse backgrounds to either enter, or re-enter, an exciting workforce at a challenging time.
Implementing Diversity at Every Level
For firms to truly diversify, changes must be implemented at every level. It doesn’t only come down to recruitment practices to bring a more diverse pool of talent in, it’s equally important to ensure all employees are knowledgeable in the benefits of diversity and able to champion this.
At SharkNinja, our internal diversity teams have established a number of of activities and talks, including a 10-part speaking series exploring LGBTQIA+, Disability in the workplace, dyslexia and the power of neurodiversity in the workplace. We have partnered with non-profit organisations Stonewall and Status Queer, who have come in to speak with our staff about LGBTQIA+ and gender diversity in tech.
As an industry leading in the realities of a post pandemic world, all of us in the technology sector have our part to play. Following the vast changes to everyone’s lifestyles in the past 18 months, the post-Covid rebuilding period is a once in a generation opportunity for the technology industry to tackle bias and build a diverse and inclusive environment for young people and those of diverse background to thrive in.