The Tech Talent Charter is highlighting the risks of de-prioritising inclusion and diversity, not just in the tech sector, but in tech roles across all industries during these difficult times. New research shows that 14% of UK companies say diversity and inclusion will be less important while dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, but 68% commit to keeping it a top priority.
Debbie Forster, CEO of the Tech Talent Charter, discusses these findings.
“We’re encouraged by these findings but know from experience that intention doesn’t always equal action when it comes to building diversity. The UK needs diverse tech talent now like never before, across every sector of business. A focus on inclusion and diversity must not be seen as a distraction from a post-Coronavirus recovery, but as an essential tool for building a smarter, more innovative and progressive workforce, which will be vital for both the long-term success of individual businesses and the UK economy as a whole.”
“The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has illuminated new ways for us to live and work. Many business leaders who had thought their teams could not operate remotely have found that, in fact, they can. These aspects of our ‘new normal’ enable flexibility, something which has long been recognised as a key tool in creating inclusive work environments.
“Our hope is now that even as companies scramble to update their tech strategies and the UK government promises a £20m fund for critical tech initiatives, they will also recognise this chance to dramatically shift how they recruit, manage and retain their teams. The UK needs diverse tech talent now like never before, and we have an opportunity to make that a reality.”
These are her tips on simple ways to keep a focus on inclusion and diversity:
- Integrate flexible and remote working options: The Coronavirus outbreak has shown many companies that flexible and remote working IS possible and is hugely motivating.
- Consider offering meaningful part-time work. Two million UK women are currently inactive because of caring commitments. Previously published research suggests that 76% of women on work breaks would like to return to work, but 54% say time requirements are too high.
- Change the culture and narrative: The appetite for inclusivity must come from the top but needs to be reflected across the organisation. Great cultures mean you don’t just recruit top talent; you also retain your best staff.
- Support returners: It’s time-consuming and expensive to find new talent. By supporting those who have been out of the workforce for extended periods to reintegrate, you can get maximum reward for less investment.
- Consider retraining/career conversion schemes. Look in unexpected places, internally and externally, for new talent considering those with wider skills who are keen to retrain into tech. Previously published research found that 45% of women surveyed from across the UK said they were interested in retraining for tech jobs.
The TTC is a non-profit organisation which works with over 400 leading UK companies to promote and enable inclusive working practices which help to drive diverse tech talent.