HR · 31 January 2018

Tech Talent Charter aims to improve gender diversity in tech industry

125 UK employers have already signed up to the Tech Talent Charter

Margot James, the minister for digital and creative industries, has led a government charge to convince tech sector employers to sign up to the Tech Talent Charter and increase gender diversity in their industry.

The Tech Talent Charter is a new government initiative that covers all organisations employing people in technology roles. It commits signatories to include women on interview shortlists wherever possible and to submit anonymous data for yearly diversity reports.

Former small business minister James will write to Britain’s major tech companies asking them to sign up to the charter and champion gender diversity throughout the tech industry.

Around 125 employers have already signed up to the Tech Talent Charter, including major tech firms like Dell, Sage and Cisco, the government announced.

Commenting on the charter’s launch, digital and culture secretary Matt Hancock said that all government departments would now become signatories.

He added: “It is essential the public sector leads the way in driving this change and I can announce every government department will be signing the charter.

“The minister for digital will be writing to major tech firms, asking them to sign up. This will help galvanise support for the charter, so everyone has the opportunity to fill the fantastic jobs available.”

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Technology has become renowned for remaining one of the most gender bias industries in the developed world, in terms of recruitment. Last year, a report from Deloitte found that by the end of 2016, less tan 25 per cent of IT jobs in developed economies were held by women.

Claire Hopkins, managing director of IT services firm Ideal, said that women working in tech find themselves permanently in the minority. She told Business Advice: “Even as a business leader, I have felt under implicit pressure to conform to be accepted into my group of predominately male peers.

“Only in the tech industry have I routinely walked into meetings occupied solely by men. Only in this sector has it been assumed by my peers that I must work in marketing because I am a woman.”

The aim of the Tech Talent Charter is to bring the public, private and third sectors together, to share ideas and experiences on gender diversity. It promises to give business owners clear actions and principles with which to make organisations more diverse.

Hancock went on to say: “Cracking the challenge is in part about changing the education system, but it’s also about changing the culture and opening up.

“You can’t catch all the fish if you only fish in half the pool! If we want Britain’s tech industry to prosper we should be using the talents of the whole nation”.

Read more: Creating a fake male co-founder to counter startup sexism

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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