Diversity in Tech 2021 Report

An annual report tracking diversity in technology across the UK

HubSpot Video

This is a recording of the session This Works: Diversity in Tech Report Headlines from our 2022 Inclusion in Tech Festival. Hear from the experts on the key highlights from our latest Diversity in Tech Report. The report related content starts at 05:07 of the recording.

Woman at desk smiling

Foreword:
What works...

The Tech Talent Charter (TTC) is committed to securing the future of the tech talent pipeline. A key driver of this is our annual Diversity in Tech report, which showcases curated diversity and inclusion (D&I) data we amass from our Signatory base of companies with tech needs in the United Kingdom.

The purpose of this survey is to harness the power of data to help organisations make significant headway in this critical growth area. When UK businesses are willing to share good D&I data — what’s actually working or not working for them — it yields deep, nuanced insights that can benefit Signatories, other organisations, and more broadly the UK economy and society. As such, another aim of this report is to inspire more business leaders to share their D&I data with us so we can create a more nuanced and complete picture of the state of diversity and inclusion.

Five years ago, when TTC was first founded, the companies that were forward-thinking enough to gather data – much less share it for the purposes of wider benchmarking – were few and far between. Nowadays, this is fast becoming the norm. Firms are no longer asking why they should be collecting workplace data, but rather how to do it more effectively. Today, Diversity in Tech is among the biggest, broadest, richest D&I surveys of the UK digital economy, and one of the few to be updated annually.

The backdrop to this year’s report is a continuation of pandemic-precipitated working patterns, with technology having created greater accessibility and flexibility for some, while further isolating others.

As the dust settles and we navigate a post-Covid-19 future, hybrid working has arguably taken root in the ‘new normal’, with employees rebalancing priorities. The ‘Great Resignation’ has become more than just a hashtag, as a movement borne of career dissatisfaction gives way to hiring challenges. In the throes of this so-called ‘Big Quit’, it has been particularly difficult for companies to recruit suitable tech employees. Arguably, the answer to this problem is to broaden the talent pool to include more diverse candidates. However, this solution comes with its own circular dilemma as organisations may then grapple with the issue of hiring such diverse tech employees amid a general talent drought.

And it’s not just about recruitment. Companies can’t just hire their way out of the situation; even as they onboard new talent into their workforce, attrition amongst existing employees may nullify those gains. When it comes to diversity, retention and development are key considerations. Companies must help their employees fine-tune the skills necessary to deliver high value in an increasingly tech-centric environment. They must also get better at retaining and growing diverse representation in leadership positions, while supporting and highlighting role models to attract talent.

There is much to learn from the tech training initiatives, such as code bootcamps, that have activated this space — supporting intensive skills-generating experiences for career changers. But what can businesses do to try and resolve the deeper issues, beyond addressing their own immediate commercial needs?

Taking our cue from the example of climate change, which has clearly dominated international public-private sector debate, it may be that immediate profits must be sacrificed in favour of meaningful longer-term investment that may take time to deliver returns. In the context of tech talent, this includes upskilling staff who are ready to leave and drawing younger generations whose buy-in cannot necessarily be taken for granted.

Another broad 2021 theme, ‘flattening the curve’, gives us further food for thought. The ubiquitous phrase has underpinned the public health strategy for slowing the spread of Covid, based on data modelling. It highlights the need for an explicit understanding of data, which may at times be deceptive or not tell the whole story — a sentiment which has been a source of great social division.

A related angst is playing out in the business world — in particular, in relation to D&I. Business in the West tends to orient itself around scientific reasoning – which stands on the edge of error. As such, there is a relentless test and learn sensibility, driven by a desire for improvement and further efficiency.

Companies are seeking a clear picture of what’s going on in their own backyards, so they can decide how best to plan and act in relation to D&I policies and practices. But acquiring the related data isn’t easy. Especially in a society that has become increasingly skeptical about business and government interests, and more alert to misuse of data.

The question is then: how can organisations obtain accurate diversity data, and even harder-to-gather inclusion data, from their teams so they can identify problems and correctly measure solutions (from the edge of error), without fomenting colleague and customer mistrust?

On a macro level, Diversity in Tech 2021 can help businesses take the first step towards informed and effective D&I-focused action. It features fresh, timely data insights on diversity and inclusion, on an impressive scale — covering a wide range of companies powering the UK’s digital economy. This year’s report takes two additional steps forward. For the first time, we required Signatories to share data on ethnicity; and we have published both quantitative and qualitative diversity insights.

Our 2021 report builds on what we advised in the 2020 edition: (continue to) have the tough conversations. And ensure that they’re relevant discussions, by obtaining and, perhaps more importantly, truly understanding the data that should be informing them.

Our Signatories

580 organisations provided their data
TTCs survey counts Ref_8

This report uses data from 580 organisations – an increase of 162, year on year. Our dataset covers 196,179 people working in technical roles in the UK. We estimate that this represents around 15-16% of the current UK tech-skilled labour force — making this one of the largest, broadest, and most up-to-date available datasets of its kind.

Signatories of the TTC report by company size

Our Signatories include companies of all sizes – measured by employee headcount – with strong samples across all categories: micro (1-10), small (11-25), medium (26-50), large (51-200) and super large (over 1,000 employees). There are higher counts of companies and the top and bottom ends of the size spectrum, with fewer in the mid-sized categories. A sizeable majority of the tech employees counted in our survey work at super-large organisations.

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The tech workers in our survey are based in all 12 regions of the UK, with the majority in London and the South East.

Following the dramatic shift in working patterns, accelerated by the pandemic, we also asked companies if they had adopted remote working, location-agnostic tech teams by default. The responses confirmed that this was the case for 10% of TTC Signatories – accounting for just under 23,000 workers. This was the third most commonly reported role location classification after London and the South East.

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We drew our data from 70 unique industries. Most Signatories operate in the Information Technology (IT) and Services sector (which was also the case in our 2020 survey). This is followed by Staffing and Recruiting; then Education & Skills; and Finance.

In terms of numbers of roles by industry, 37% are in IT; 24% are in Finance. At an individual level, the majority of employees covered in our report work in the aforementioned sectors – followed by Telecoms, Government, and then Consulting.

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Diversity of Signatories’ tech teams

Gender

We’ve seen a slight uptick, year on year, in the number of reported tech roles held by women, from 25% to 27%. This year’s increased proportion includes all gender minorities. It does not include a further 2% of individuals of unknown genders (who opted out of disclosure or had not been asked). Gender minority representation remains approximately 6% higher amongst TTC Signatories than the corresponding stat for the tech workforce in the UK (21%) as per 2019 Office of National Statistics (ONS) data.

Gender minorities in Tech

Ethnic Minorities

Last year, for the first time, we asked companies to report data on ethnicity. While sharing this information was optional, 45% of Signatories chose to report it to us. This year, we set a new standard by making ethnicity reporting mandatory. As a result, we found that the representation of ethnic minorities amongst TTC Signatory organisations was 20% — higher than the UK tech workforce average (16%). The wider UK workforce consists of 11% ethnic minority workers.

Proportion of ethnic minority employees

When we break down the data, a clearer picture emerges. Of the Signatories who were able to report disaggregated ethnicity data, Asian workers make up 12% of the TTC Signatory workforce compared to the Asian tech workforce UK average of 9% (with Asians representing 4% of the overall UK workforce). Black workers comprise 3% of the TTC workforce, a slightly larger share than the Black tech workforce UK average of 2%, but in line with the overall Black UK workforce (3%). Our Signatory workforce is 65% White; while White workers make up 84% of the UK tech workforce and 88% of the overall UK workforce. Other ethnicities and multi-ethnic individuals constitute 5% of the TTC workforce.

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A caveat

Whilst we reported our ethnicity breakdown based on a sample of available disaggregated employee ethnicity data, there were a number of tech employees not included in this set because they had not been asked about their ethnicity by their employer. The percentages of different ethnicities reported above are based on the sample of those asked about their ethnicity. The majority of employees in our overall dataset have been reported within the above sample. However, there is a significant minority of employees who have been omitted because they were not asked about their ethnicity by their employer. Our Signatory sample is also weighted toward London and the South East; and regional ethnicity demographics may therefore affect it. D&I data collection and disclosure challenges are covered later in the report.

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Headquarters

For the first time this year, driven by Signatory feedback, we also asked where companies were headquartered, to get a sense of the influence culture and priorities in different parts of the world might have on an organisation’s approach to D&I. Our Signatories were classed into 14 different categories, based on their HQ location.

As we would expect, organisations headquartered in the UK account for most of our sample (over three quarters). However, in some cases, companies with significant boots on the ground in the UK (1,000 plus tech workers) are headquartered elsewhere, in countries such as the US, India, Ireland, Canada and France.

The most gender-diverse Signatory headquarters, when it comes to tech employees, are as follows, in descending order: Ireland, the UK, Canada, the US, India and France. However, if we include smaller sample sizes (500 plus tech workers), in a survey of nine most gender-diverse HQs, the UK drops down from second to fourth place – with less populous tech workforces led from the Netherlands and Spain moving up the ranks.

Our data does not allow us to draw any definitive conclusions. However, it presents us with some compelling arguments to mull over. D&I culture and policies from, say, a US-headquartered company, may influence attitudes and practices amongst its UK-based workforce. It is equally possible that a UK-headquartered company’s India-based workforce may not share its D&I priorities or values, due to the latter’s different demographic make-up, concomitant needs, and surrounding culture.

The power of sharing D&I data

In becoming TTC Signatories, organisations agree to submit their D&I data to us. This is key in ensuring we can give businesses meaningful context to help them understand how they are doing on D&I in comparison with others.

We use this data to create benchmarking graphs, which we feature in every annual Diversity in Tech report. Altogether, these data visualisations provide a snapshot of D&I across a range of companies that make up the UK’s digital economy. By reviewing these curated datasets, businesses can understand trends, and see how they stack up against similar firms – using factors like size, location and sector.

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Knowing what success looks like

We know this is useful because Signatories have highlighted the need for benchmarking in their survey responses. Whilst larger companies may have certain analytics tools at their disposal, smaller organisations may not have access to such products and services — making our benchmarking graphs a critical free resource that can be used by the business community, irrespective of means.

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What our Signatories are saying about…

Benchmarking

'Having a good set of data to benchmark against would help us to drive forward our strengths and provide focus for the areas of improvement.'
'We would like to know how we compare to others in the tech industry. Benchmark data would be very handy to help us gain this comparison.'
'How do we compare to external benchmarks in order to determine a series of focused actions.'

A small tech company in the North East

'Having a good set of data to benchmark against would help us to drive forward our strengths and provide focus for the areas of improvement.'

A micro tech company in London

'We would like to know how we compare to others in the tech industry. Benchmark data would be very handy to help us gain this comparison.'

A large tech company in the South East

'How do we compare to external benchmarks in order to determine a series of focused actions.'

How is your organisation performing?

These valuable tools can provide a set point to help you shape your D&I strategy and action plan.

Gender diversity of tech roles by industry
Gender diversity in tech roles by tech team size; gender minorities
Gender diversity of tech roles by region
Ethnic diversity in tech roles by region; ethnic minorities Ref_16
Ethnic diversity in tech roles by team size; ethnic minorities
Ethnic diversity in tech roles by industry; ethnic minorities
Gender diversity in tech roles by overall team size
Ethnic diversity in tech roles by overall team size; ethnic minorities Ref_32

*For the purposes of effective benchmarking, we have omitted data where a Signatory has not asked their employees to disclose diversity data.

What's working?

Each year, for our annual report, we request quantitative data from our Signatories. We also amass a rare trove of extremely rich qualitative data from them. By tapping into the latter, we have sought to understand what’s actually working for these organisations, when it comes to D&I.

As previously indicated, business innovation stands on the edge of error. Accordingly, companies making progress on D&I are being guided and informed by research, as they experiment and innovate in a live ‘test and learn’ environment. We can now report back on their successful actions in the field.

TTC’s position is that, while there is no single magic bullet, common threads exist. There are many ways to take action that do not call for direct financial investment; but all require intention and an ongoing commitment.

We’ve categorised responses for this section into commonly recurring themes, and segmented and re-analysed them based on a company’s representation of ethnic and gender diversity. Some universal themes appear across the entire Signatory base, while others are more common in organisations that have higher levels of ethnic and gender diversity.

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Most frequently cited impactful interventions

20 most frequently cited impactful interventions from all Signatories Ref_21
10 most frequently cited impactful interventions reference by organisations with the most gender diverse tech employees Ref_19
10 most frequently cited impactful interventions referenced by organisations with the most ethnically diverse tech employees Ref_20

Top interventions: a deeper dive

We’ve pulled together a selection of impactful interventions that were most frequently implemented across the board by all three of our samples: ‘all Signatories’, ‘highest proportion of ethnically diverse tech employees’ and ‘most gender balanced’ and provided a deeper dive into them. This includes positive case studies and Signatories’ own words, which further illustrate progress made in each key area.

Auditing processes and systems

Signatories ranking their most effective interventions Ref_22 (1)

Many TTC Signatories said their most effective interventions related to auditing processes and systems. This was the second most common impactful intervention among companies with the most gender diversity; fourth among those with the most ethnic diversity. Across the entire Signatory base, it ranked 11th out of 20 most frequently cited impactful interventions. This is clearly a crucial area for companies with the highest proportion of gender and ethnically diverse employees; with the data revealing a significant disparity between those groups and other less diverse Signatories.

From an outside perspective, this might not seem like an obvious D&I improvement area, but it speaks to the widely debated issue of unconscious bias — i.e. an unconscious preference for in-group traits when making decisions. In a commercial context, this has been shown to impact business decisions in unintended ways.

Research on unconscious bias has generally coalesced around acceptance that it is not something to be “cured” per se, as it’s a natural part of human cognition (widely popularised in Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow). However, systematising decision-making by auditing processes and systems to make them as robust, accurate and efficient as possible, can help businesses limit unintentional bias which may produce unfair results.

To learn more about how to audit processes and systems to mitigate bias, please visit the TTC Open Playbook, which features a section dedicated to resources on this topic.

What our Signatories are saying about…

Auditing processes and systems to mitigate bias

‘We’ve updated our hiring manager training to explicitly address racial bias (rolled out to 2,500 hiring managers) and made changes to our early careers recruitment process. For example, based on research, we have removed the final stage presentation requirement, re-designed our assessment materials and launched a new candidate preparation guide, to ensure Black candidates aren’t disadvantaged. The impact of this has been to close the conversion rate gap between Black colleagues and those from other ethnic backgrounds. We’ve also carried out market perception research with Black professionals in order to inform our strategies for reaching, engaging and attracting potential Black colleagues to join our firm.’
‘Our most successful initiative has been an end-to-end review of recruitment and promotions. The target outcome was to drive greater diversity of candidates and appointments. Overall, we have seen positive outcomes from this focus. In the past 12 months, 31% of hires have been from an ethnically diverse background and 62% have been female. We have measured this using recorded diversity and inclusion data through new hires, internal promotions and appointments made, job applications and diversity within junior hires.’

Deloitte UK

‘We’ve updated our hiring manager training to explicitly address racial bias (rolled out to 2,500 hiring managers) and made changes to our early careers recruitment process. For example, based on research, we have removed the final stage presentation requirement, re-designed our assessment materials and launched a new candidate preparation guide, to ensure Black candidates aren’t disadvantaged. The impact of this has been to close the conversion rate gap between Black colleagues and those from other ethnic backgrounds. We’ve also carried out market perception research with Black professionals in order to inform our strategies for reaching, engaging and attracting potential Black colleagues to join our firm.’

Global, the media and entertainment group

‘Our most successful initiative has been an end-to-end review of recruitment and promotions. The target outcome was to drive greater diversity of candidates and appointments. Overall, we have seen positive outcomes from this focus. In the past 12 months, 31% of hires have been from an ethnically diverse background and 62% have been female. We have measured this using recorded diversity and inclusion data through new hires, internal promotions and appointments made, job applications and diversity within junior hires.’

Investment in D&I Data and Systems

Signatories ranking their most effective interventions Ref_23

The second most frequently cited intervention amongst all Signatories was Investment in D&I data and systems. However, this ranked first with Signatories that performed best on ethnic diversity, but was mentioned less often, in sixth place, by organisations with the most gender diversity. This may be attributable to the fact that organisations typically capture data related to employee sex; therefore, the process for obtaining this information – particularly amongst those with high levels of gender diversity — is likely sufficiently mature.

Collecting good D&I data has arguably been one of the biggest challenges for businesses this year, along with the concomitant issue of procuring the right platforms and tools for proper analysis and target setting. It is therefore not surprising that investment in D&I systems seems to be a popular and well-reviewed intervention. This reinforces what we’ve maintained at the top of this year’s report: getting good data and understanding it is a priority for many TTC Signatories.

Some organisations are going beyond gathering bare minimum data – such as male/female – and storing it in a human resources information system. They are actively engaging with their data to make decisions and inform goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Gaining buy-in from others in their organisations, for investment and resourcing decisions, was another action point but also a challenge, according to our analysis.

To learn more about this area, you can view the recording of the 'This Works: Using DE&I Data' session from TTC's 2022 Inclusion in Tech Festival.

HubSpot Video

 

What our Signatories are saying about…

Investment in D&I Data and Systems

‘We have created and use data dashboards for ethnicity and gender [with] metrics on recruitment, progression and pay by gender and ethnicity. This has allowed for local and central initiatives to be implemented, including voluntary publication of our Ethnicity Pay Gap Report in September 2021. Gender and ethnicity dashboards also form part of our quarterly business reviews with each UK business lead – ensuring focus on their local action plan, in support of gender and ethnic diversity.’
‘The activity which has had the most positive impact on D&I has been the effective use of data, and particularly the twice-yearly dashboard. This has enabled us to identify areas for improvement, and to target interventions. It tracks the impact of those interventions. Data provides transparency, and in so doing, engages people in the journey.’
'Our diversity measurement dashboard has been critical for gaining leadership support — as a real-time recognised trusted tool and part of leadership meetings. It is used by business leaders and HR to monitor attrition, recruitment and progression, progress against internal targets... it has been key to putting and keeping D&I high on the agenda all year round... and we are seeing progress against targets as a result.’

Fujitsu

‘We have created and use data dashboards for ethnicity and gender [with] metrics on recruitment, progression and pay by gender and ethnicity. This has allowed for local and central initiatives to be implemented, including voluntary publication of our Ethnicity Pay Gap Report in September 2021. Gender and ethnicity dashboards also form part of our quarterly business reviews with each UK business lead – ensuring focus on their local action plan, in support of gender and ethnic diversity.’

FCDO Services

‘The activity which has had the most positive impact on D&I has been the effective use of data, and particularly the twice-yearly dashboard. This has enabled us to identify areas for improvement, and to target interventions. It tracks the impact of those interventions. Data provides transparency, and in so doing, engages people in the journey.’

Capgemini

'Our diversity measurement dashboard has been critical for gaining leadership support — as a real-time recognised trusted tool and part of leadership meetings. It is used by business leaders and HR to monitor attrition, recruitment and progression, progress against internal targets... it has been key to putting and keeping D&I high on the agenda all year round... and we are seeing progress against targets as a result.’

D&I targets and measurement; manager/leader accountability for actions/progress

Putting in place D&I targets and measurement was listed as the top intervention among TTC signatory organisations with the greatest gender diversity; whereas this action placed fifth amongst companies with the most ethnic diversity; ninth across all Signatories. This approach aligns with a focus on data and measurement. It also ties into the investments companies are making in D&I data and systems, discussed in the previous section. Collecting and tracking D&I data and effectively querying it for use in business decision making is contingent on an organisation being able to secure suitable and robust analysis tools and platforms.

D&I targets and measurements are mainly being implemented by super large companies (1,001-10,000 employees); 64% of respondents that cited this intervention were classified as such. Medium- and large-sized firms use this intervention less frequently. Twenty-three percent of the tech workforce reported that their company implements internal D&I targets and measurements. Most organisations using these measures stated that they have been transparent with their workforce about such interventions; the main benefits to them being facilitation of accountability and following standard business development strategies employed in other areas. Signatories that use D&I targets have largely championed them for paving the way for more responsive, specific, local, and central policies.

Mini case study:


A focused approach to D&I underpinned by leadership accountability - PwC UK

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What our Signatories are saying about…

D&I targets and measurement; manager/leader accountability for actions/progress

‘The foundational first step toward creating a more diverse workforce and realising the many benefits it can bring to an organisation, is the same as with any other business effort: setting goals.’
‘We have developed inaugural workforce and leadership targets for gender, ethnicity and disability, as well as specific targets for Black/Black heritage representation. These reflect our desire to be bolder and set ambitions aligned with Office for National Statistics population projections, making sure we create a workforce that is fully representative of the regions in which we are based at all levels and in all parts of the business.’
'In 2021, we asked our managers to: a) set at least one diversity goal, with a view to increasing the diversity of their teams and b) set at least one inclusion goal, to promote teammates of different backgrounds working better together. To measure the success of this initiative from a diversity perspective we are reviewing the representation of underrepresented groups on a quarterly basis by team (in terms of the recruitment funnel and actual hires). To measure success from an inclusion perspective, we will annually review relevant indexes on the employee experience survey and the numbers of reported employee relations cases around discrimination, harassment and inclusion-related concerns.'
‘Our leaders are accountable for targets, and progress against them is reviewed quarterly by our UK Executive. Our Black Action Plan has also sparked a commitment to greater transparency when reporting our ethnicity data. For example, we have broken down our ethnic minority figures for the first time, to publish pay gap analysis at a Black, Asian and other ethnic minority level. Not only is this providing a more transparent message to our people and society but it’s also providing us with richer data to inform our wider, ongoing inclusion strategy.’
'We want to be at the cutting edge of using results-driven, scientific approaches to tackling bias. In 2018 we began a partnership with Professor Iris Bohnet of Harvard University. With her guidance, we launched a metric called the Gender Appointment Ratio (GAR) to present our senior leaders with their track record over a five-year period. GAR is calculated as the total number of women appointed, divided by the total number of men appointed. A GAR score of 1 represents an equitable track record. Presenting line managers with the big picture of their appointment decisions over a five-year period raises their awareness and helps them make the unbiased choices the next time the opportunity arises.'

Accenture UK

‘The foundational first step toward creating a more diverse workforce and realising the many benefits it can bring to an organisation, is the same as with any other business effort: setting goals.’

BT

‘We have developed inaugural workforce and leadership targets for gender, ethnicity and disability, as well as specific targets for Black/Black heritage representation. These reflect our desire to be bolder and set ambitions aligned with Office for National Statistics population projections, making sure we create a workforce that is fully representative of the regions in which we are based at all levels and in all parts of the business.’

Cloudflare

'In 2021, we asked our managers to: a) set at least one diversity goal, with a view to increasing the diversity of their teams and b) set at least one inclusion goal, to promote teammates of different backgrounds working better together. To measure the success of this initiative from a diversity perspective we are reviewing the representation of underrepresented groups on a quarterly basis by team (in terms of the recruitment funnel and actual hires). To measure success from an inclusion perspective, we will annually review relevant indexes on the employee experience survey and the numbers of reported employee relations cases around discrimination, harassment and inclusion-related concerns.'

Deloitte UK

‘Our leaders are accountable for targets, and progress against them is reviewed quarterly by our UK Executive. Our Black Action Plan has also sparked a commitment to greater transparency when reporting our ethnicity data. For example, we have broken down our ethnic minority figures for the first time, to publish pay gap analysis at a Black, Asian and other ethnic minority level. Not only is this providing a more transparent message to our people and society but it’s also providing us with richer data to inform our wider, ongoing inclusion strategy.’

Unilever

'We want to be at the cutting edge of using results-driven, scientific approaches to tackling bias. In 2018 we began a partnership with Professor Iris Bohnet of Harvard University. With her guidance, we launched a metric called the Gender Appointment Ratio (GAR) to present our senior leaders with their track record over a five-year period. GAR is calculated as the total number of women appointed, divided by the total number of men appointed. A GAR score of 1 represents an equitable track record. Presenting line managers with the big picture of their appointment decisions over a five-year period raises their awareness and helps them make the unbiased choices the next time the opportunity arises.'

Gathering employee feedback and measuring inclusion

Gathering employee feedback and measuring inclusion featured in the top four impactful interventions for all Signatories. Amongst organisations with the highest number of gender and ethnically diverse tech employees, respectively, these activities ranked third.

There are many ways to solicit feedback and engage in active listening. Based on our Signatory responses, this tends to involve outreach to diverse workplace communities through communications and engagement campaigns and support and cultivation of related groups and networks. Other initiatives include employee surveys and organised listening sessions. It is equally important that companies know how to respond to such valuable feedback, in the form of meaningful action.

What our Signatories are saying about…

Gathering employee feedback and measuring inclusion

‘Our Diversity & Inclusion surveys have had the most positive impact on diversity and inclusion in our company. They have helped us gain in-depth insights into areas that we need to focus on to improve our diversity and inclusion. For example, we have been given the feedback that opportunities for progression internally are not available, so we have taken action to actively advertise all roles internally and to interview all internal candidates.’
‘We completed extensive analysis on representation and our first ever D&I survey in July 2020. This covered all parts of the employee lifecycle as well as experiences or observations of discrimination and inappropriate behaviour. The results of the survey have shown us where we do well and where we have opportunities to improve – with analysis highlighting the variance in experience for different communities. We shared the results of the survey with all colleagues transparently and have used the insight to inform our new strategy with greater ambition and reach - including four pillars to build a more diverse workforce; to create a more inclusive workplace; to be a force for good in the marketplace and to gather the insight we need to continue to drive our actions. 12 months on from our D&I survey, we’ve delivered extensive activity against the strategy to improve and level up the experiences of our colleagues. We’re now testing our environment of inclusion on a quarterly basis, and we can see that we have started to close the gap for all our lowest scoring communities. Our Black colleagues’ favourability on inclusion has improved from 67% positive in July 2020 to 75% positive in May 2021 – reflecting the impact of our targeted initiatives such as listening sessions, reverse mentoring, communications and engagement (e.g. celebrating Black History Month), and supporting our BAME employee network to grow their influence.’

finova

‘Our Diversity & Inclusion surveys have had the most positive impact on diversity and inclusion in our company. They have helped us gain in-depth insights into areas that we need to focus on to improve our diversity and inclusion. For example, we have been given the feedback that opportunities for progression internally are not available, so we have taken action to actively advertise all roles internally and to interview all internal candidates.’

Direct Line Group

‘We completed extensive analysis on representation and our first ever D&I survey in July 2020. This covered all parts of the employee lifecycle as well as experiences or observations of discrimination and inappropriate behaviour. The results of the survey have shown us where we do well and where we have opportunities to improve – with analysis highlighting the variance in experience for different communities. We shared the results of the survey with all colleagues transparently and have used the insight to inform our new strategy with greater ambition and reach - including four pillars to build a more diverse workforce; to create a more inclusive workplace; to be a force for good in the marketplace and to gather the insight we need to continue to drive our actions. 12 months on from our D&I survey, we’ve delivered extensive activity against the strategy to improve and level up the experiences of our colleagues. We’re now testing our environment of inclusion on a quarterly basis, and we can see that we have started to close the gap for all our lowest scoring communities. Our Black colleagues’ favourability on inclusion has improved from 67% positive in July 2020 to 75% positive in May 2021 – reflecting the impact of our targeted initiatives such as listening sessions, reverse mentoring, communications and engagement (e.g. celebrating Black History Month), and supporting our BAME employee network to grow their influence.’

Expert take:


Gathering employee feedback and measuring inclusion by Diversio

Diversio, one of our Signatories with specialist knowledge in this area, has shared their advice with us for creating a focused listening experience.

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Case study:


Gathering employee feedback and measuring inclusion - Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

Focused attraction channels to target underrepresented talent pools

All Signatories put focused attraction approaches in third place when considering their most impactful initiatives. Their responses can be grouped into the following core activities: 1) partnering with third party organisations with community-specific links, as a conduit to communities that are not well represented at the organisation; 2) using targeted marketing or data-driven digital platforms to tailor ads to specific demographics and 3) taking a more passive approach by adjusting hiring processes and job opportunities to make them more appealing to people in underrepresented groups. In contrast, focused attraction was mentioned far less amongst Signatory organisations with the most even gender balance and highest ethnic diversity.

There are many networks, groups and services targeted at reaching diverse talent. A list of some of them can be found in the Open Playbook chapter on advertising channels. If you know of any others that we should list, please contact Karen.Blake@techtalentcharter.co.uk.

What our Signatories are saying about…

Focused attraction channels to target underrepresented talent pools

‘We work with different job boards and recruitment partners (for example 2U-powered boot camps and the AWS re/Start programme), which has led to several diverse software engineer hires. Furthermore, we created a video campaign about what it’s like to work in tech at Gymshark, with diversity and inclusiveness highlighted as a theme. We remain committed to ensuring DE&I is at the heart of our search for the best tech and engineering talent’

Gymshark

‘We work with different job boards and recruitment partners (for example 2U-powered boot camps and the AWS re/Start programme), which has led to several diverse software engineer hires. Furthermore, we created a video campaign about what it’s like to work in tech at Gymshark, with diversity and inclusiveness highlighted as a theme. We remain committed to ensuring DE&I is at the heart of our search for the best tech and engineering talent’

Building awareness

Across all TTC Signatories, the most common positively impactful D&I intervention reported was building awareness. This practice was second most common amongst organisations with the highest proportions of ethnic diversity in their tech teams. Awareness-building initiatives – such as internal webinars, presentations, and external speaker sessions – were reported as key in giving employees access to information and new perspectives. Another particularly common and effective intervention was the hosting of conversation forums, which offered employees a chance to learn about D&I and engage in free and open discussions. Our Signatories also referenced 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests as catalysts for dialogues and initiatives about racism. LGBT+ Pride was another common theme in organisations’ D&I efforts.

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What our Signatories are saying about…

Building Awareness

‘Over 3,000 colleagues across the globe have participated in our ‘days of understanding’ mini workshops — where we bring employees together for learning, trust-building, and conversations about how we can make Equinix a place where we all feel we are safe, we belong, and matter. These conversations were also an opportunity for us to challenge our own thinking and discover ways to be allies for each other. Additional resources on managing unconscious bias, responding to non-inclusive language and being an ally, are available to all employees on our intranet.’

Equinix

‘Over 3,000 colleagues across the globe have participated in our ‘days of understanding’ mini workshops — where we bring employees together for learning, trust-building, and conversations about how we can make Equinix a place where we all feel we are safe, we belong, and matter. These conversations were also an opportunity for us to challenge our own thinking and discover ways to be allies for each other. Additional resources on managing unconscious bias, responding to non-inclusive language and being an ally, are available to all employees on our intranet.’

D&I Training

A number of organisations cited D&I training as an effective intervention. The type of training varied, with some Signatories using long-term programmes featuring multiple stages; and others referring to one-off trainings for the purposes of improving specific behaviours or processes. In reviewing the qualitative data, companies often reported D&I training successes based on their ability to raise awareness of D&I issues and enable employees to engage in business conversations about them, through better communication or shared understanding.

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Expert take:


How to optimise D&I training programmes by Upskill Digital

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What our Signatories are saying about…

D&I Training

‘Since 2020, over 95% of our people have completed mandatory digital learning, laying a solid foundation from which to understand race issues.  In addition, our 2,600 partners and directors have been invited to attend ‘Talking about Race’ sessions – to help them become more comfortable, confident and competent discussing race, acting as allies, and being actively inclusive.  Following a ‘Let’s Talk’ session with our Multicultural Network (MCN) last year, we launched our Black Network and MCN Allies Community to support these important conversations. Each network provides a safe space to help our people understand, support and advocate for colleagues from Black and all minority ethnic backgrounds.’

Deloitte UK

‘Since 2020, over 95% of our people have completed mandatory digital learning, laying a solid foundation from which to understand race issues.  In addition, our 2,600 partners and directors have been invited to attend ‘Talking about Race’ sessions – to help them become more comfortable, confident and competent discussing race, acting as allies, and being actively inclusive.  Following a ‘Let’s Talk’ session with our Multicultural Network (MCN) last year, we launched our Black Network and MCN Allies Community to support these important conversations. Each network provides a safe space to help our people understand, support and advocate for colleagues from Black and all minority ethnic backgrounds.’

Reading between the lines

Themes and best practices based on responses from Signatories with the most gender- and ethnically diverse tech teams

Compiled by Anna Hannis, Employer Engagement Manager, Inclusion and Diversity Specialist at Tech Talent Charter

We reviewed the qualitative data submitted by Signatories with the most gender and ethnic diversity in their tech workforces. In so doing, we learned just as much from omissions or areas that were not expressly called out, as we did from reported effective interventions. Reading between the lines, we noted consistent trends or themes running throughout the responses. We’ve pulled together the three most prevalent ones and outlined related best practices.

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1. There’s power in transparency, setting goals, and measuring your progress

Companies with the most diversity in their tech workforces set goals, communicated these internally and externally, and embedded overarching goals into leadership and management objectives to drive accountability. For example, during a 2021 hackathon, one group of subject matter experts developed a resource on ‘How to Set and Embed Inclusion and Diversity Targets’.

2. Is your organisation measuring whether or not interventions work?

Our Signatories were asked to share details of how exactly they measured the impact of the interventions they were executing to increase D&I. Many failed to provide this data. This omission is pertinent, especially when considered alongside our Signatories’ reported challenges with D&I data disclosure and measurement — calling into question the extent to which interventions are being truly validated as effective by organisations. As such, we recommend that before you roll out any such intervention to address a specific issue, you carefully consider how you’ll measure its impact, and which data can be collected.


‘Currently we do not have the right tools to accurately record D&I employee data or the impact that our initiatives are really having on business results or our EVP.’

- a large sized Signatory organisation in the tech sector.

Click here to register your interest in TTCs Hackathon on measuring the impact of inclusion and diversity interventions.

3. Auditing processes and systems to mitigate bias

A large proportion of Signatories reported that they were building awareness, however that alone may not be enough. Organisations must be auditing their processes and systems to implement changes that are proven to work. Visit the Open Playbook chapter on evidence-based D&I interventions.

Work to be done

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The central purpose of this report is to provide nuanced insights that will help organisations improve D&I, by harnessing and sharing the power of good data from Signatories across the UK. However, this is not meant to imply that only positive developments and impactful interventions (e.g. ‘what’s working’) may be considered ‘good’ data for these purposes. Organisations also shared their biggest D&I challenges with us. In analysing these areas of difficulty, common themes emerge, and we can constructively zero in on key areas where there’s work to be done.

The most frequently reported pain point, across the board, was ‘attracting diverse talent amidst a tech talent shortage’.

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As a general starting position, businesses need to foster talent, in order to grow and thrive. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum has repeatedly highlighted the fact that recruiting and cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce can spur innovation, draw in skillsets from a more extensive talent pool, and make a business more competitive and ultimately profitable. The latter is echoed in a finding in McKinsey’s ‘Diversity wins’ report (2020): ‘diverse companies are more likely to financially outperform their peers.’

The ‘war for talent’, referenced at the top of this report, is negatively impacting, not just recruitment in general, but diverse recruitment. And, as the aforementioned WEF and McKinsey findings suggest, the potential fallout from this can be harmful to businesses, and their bottom line. Nevertheless, one positive side effect of this talent shortage is that it is, in some cases, prompting companies to look to under-employed groups, within the context of tech (women, disabled individuals, and people from more diverse socio-economic backgrounds) to fill the talent gap.

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A complex challenge

Even if an organisation were able to secure the right talent in this competitive applicants’ market, other complex underlying issues remain — not something a company can just hire its way out of.

While new diverse tech talent is being ushered in, existing workers may be leaving a business, for a number of reasons — from lack of opportunities for advancement into more senior roles, to inadequate training and inflexible ways of working.

A recent survey of women working in tech – undertaken by We Are Tech Women, TTC and Ipsos Mori – identified, amongst that cohort, two main drivers for joining a tech organisation: a competitive salary (84%); and a supportive manager and inclusive environment (83%).

What do women prioritise when choosing a new role?

Flexibility and part-time working ranked as fourth most important, with 68% of women surveyed citing such ways of working among their drivers; for one fifth, this area was their main driver of choice. It is also worth noting that mentoring and sponsorship initiatives mattered to over two thirds of the women surveyed (67%); one fifth of them selected such programmes as their main driver of choice.

So, it is incumbent upon organisations to avoid taking their staff for granted. They can take a proactive approach to this by putting in place beneficial initiatives and policies — such as paths to upskilling in tech, and the option to work remotely, for example.

The latter, as per McKinsey’s findings, supports employee retention of women and minorities in particular – who are inclined to take on a disproportionate share of family duties.

In this section, we parse this mammoth and multi-layered problem area into its often-overlapping components — which warrant closer examination in their own rights, so we can better understand the work that still needs to be done.

To learn more about this area, you can view the recording of the 'This Works: Remote & Hybrid' session from TTC's 2022 Inclusion in Tech Festival.

HubSpot Video

 

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We're not done with gender

As a society, we have made progress in increasing general awareness of gender-related issues, through MeToo, and women in tech causes. Still, gender diversity in tech remains a significant problem area. Amongst Signatories who reported their D&I challenges to us, one of the most frequently cited diversity lenses was gender (54% of those who reported a specific diversity group mentioned this). Drilling down further into this figure, we found that it most often reflected difficulties in hiring women. Signatories referred to challenges in achieving gender diversity at senior and leadership levels and the gender pay gap as specific facets of this problem. The need for continued focus on gender is also borne by various other studies, which show gender minorities to be drastically underrepresented in tech, compared to the wider workforce.

Women made up only 21% of the tech workforce, compared to 52% of the UK workforce as a whole, according to ONS data from late 2019. Relative to data on ethnicity, disability, and age, this is by far the most striking disparity.

As newer data emerges from other sources, there is, nevertheless, evidence of improvement – perhaps linked to the aforementioned flexible working practices adopted and accelerated during the pandemic, which have the potential to benefit many women. A Wise examination of government workforce data up to the end of September 2020, identified a notable 15% year-on-year increase in women working in tech (IT professional) jobs (from 181,500 to 208,400). The improvement was less significant in women working in engineering: 6%, year on year.

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Balancing attracting diversity vs securing talent quickly

Even if a company is totally committed to hiring diverse talent and manages to move past the next hurdle of the tech talent shortage, expediency may be yet another impediment to executing a robust D&I workforce strategy. It may be a case of making the difficult choice between hiring fast and hiring diverse. It takes time and effort to recruit the right person for the job, and there’s no easy way around this. However, there are companies and platforms that can support with this issue. Many recruiters amongst our Signatory base have experience in producing diverse candidate shortlists (as demonstrated in last year’s Diversity in Tech report) and other Signatories – such as the D&I predictive recruitment platform Applied – have developed sophisticated products and services designed to improve diversity in recruitment.


Expert take:

Targeting diverse candidates in tech recruitment by Dominic Harvey, Director, CWJobs

CWJobs is a leading UK specialist tech recruitment job board for both permanent and contract jobseekers across all sectors.

cwjobs

Expert take:


Targeting diverse candidates in tech recruitment by Dominic Harvey, Director, CWJobs

CWJobs is a leading UK specialist tech recruitment job board for both permanent and contract jobseekers across all sectors.

cwjobs
Woman coding

Lack of diverse tech talent and skills gap

As mentioned previously in this section, the challenge of hiring amidst a tech talent shortage has prompted some employers to look beyond their usual talent pools, in some cases to underrepresented groups. Other untapped resources may include existing employees from non-tech backgrounds — but only if these individuals are able to develop the skills they need to succeed in tech. Unfortunately, there is much to be done in this space. The majority of our Signatories (58%) reported that they were not running any sort of tech skills training programmes. This appears to be a missed opportunity.

In 2020, TTC published research showing that one in four women would consider switching to a career in tech if tech skills training was provided as part of the role. More than half said the key to convincing them to consider such a career would be having more knowledge of, or training in, tech. In a 2020 report on talent in the UK, McKinsey asserted that digitisation has widened the skills gap in recent years, and that reskilling employees would result in positive economic returns for UK businesses in about 75% of cases. Further, its analysis concluded that 43% of reskilling cases would yield payoffs for large companies; net benefits would follow 30% of the time for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

This is good news for organisations that are ahead of the curve in this arena. But, as the in-demand tech skills required today may become obsolete tomorrow, adoption of this practice needs to be consistent, adaptive, and ingrained in a company’s core ecosystem. Reskilling employees shouldn’t be seen as a perk; it’s an employer’s responsibility. Companies not willing to invest in their valuable human capital, may find themselves unable to support sustainable and diverse hiring at their organisation.

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Diversity in Senior Positions

The second most common problem reported by the organisations we surveyed was difficulty in improving diversity in senior leadership positions. In fact, one in ten Signatories told us this was among their biggest D&I challenges. Today’s companies have, in some ways, inherited these issues from a historic lack of diversity in tech. They continue to hire the same sorts of people from a homogeneous pool that is hard to alter. A dearth of women in senior leadership positions means a lack of role models. This may prevent women from joining, or staying at, an organisation which they perceive as having no clear career path for them — essentially perpetuating a vicious circle.

This problem cannot be solved by addressing recruitment practices alone. Companies must be honest about how well women and other minorities are being internally developed, promoted, and retained in their tech roles.

Concerningly, our data shows that organisations are simply not tracking and measuring retention and progression of their employees through a diversity lens. In fact, the majority (63%) are not tracking progression or retention at all. Amongst the other 37%, who are following their employees’ career journeys, there is a clear correlation between monitoring progression and retention; those who track one are, in most cases, tracking the other.

Gender is the most monitored tracking criteria, with 78% of Signatories reviewing progression/retention through this lens. This is followed by ethnicity (for half of Signatories). Of note: a trend has emerged towards tracking disability, caregiver needs, and age-related progression and retention.

As we will see in the next section covering further work to be done, the first step in attracting diverse talent amidst a tech talent shortage — be it junior or senior-level resources — is for an organisation to be able to effectively gather and analyse data from its own workforce, to better understand how it can address and remedy such D&I pain points.

What our Signatories are saying about…

Attracting diverse talent amidst a tech talent shortage

‘The tech labour market is extremely competitive and attracting women, in particular, is very difficult. For a small company like ours it is difficult to match the offers that they receive from big tech companies (e.g. Facebook) so looking into how we can attract them in other forms is an interesting question for us.’
'Our main challenge to resolve is how we attract a more diverse population into not just our business, but Tech in general and ensure that we and the whole Tech sector challenges itself to build and sustain cultures that fully embrace diversity and diversity of thinking. In particular, how we start to engage with people whilst they are in an early stage of their education, so that they have the option to make choices that contribute to the ability to start a career in Tech.'
'Our main issue seems to be getting D&I candidates that meet our recruitment requirements in terms of skills and experience. In the past few months we have received CVs from many diverse candidates, have interviewed a high proportion of them but have not been able to select any based on the fact that they have not been able to meet our skills and experience thresholds.'
'Our most pressing D&I related problem is ensuring a full pipeline of diverse, high quality, experienced tech candidates when recruiting. Not having this is limiting our ability to grow. We have tried to address this by posting on job boards that promote diversity (e.g. Women in Tech), updating our website to demonstrate our inclusion policies (enhanced maternity leave, remote working), and speaking with organisations that promote D&I initiatives. Some of these efforts attracted candidates, however, we were unable to move forward with them because they were too junior for the roles. Our progress has been slower than hoped for. Recruitment still remains a big challenge for us and is something that we will be continuing to look at.'

A small, London-based Signatory in the IT and services sector

‘The tech labour market is extremely competitive and attracting women, in particular, is very difficult. For a small company like ours it is difficult to match the offers that they receive from big tech companies (e.g. Facebook) so looking into how we can attract them in other forms is an interesting question for us.’

A large size Signatory organisation based in the North of the UK

'Our main challenge to resolve is how we attract a more diverse population into not just our business, but Tech in general and ensure that we and the whole Tech sector challenges itself to build and sustain cultures that fully embrace diversity and diversity of thinking. In particular, how we start to engage with people whilst they are in an early stage of their education, so that they have the option to make choices that contribute to the ability to start a career in Tech.'

A medium sized Signatory in the tech/IT sector, with a tech team who predominantly work remotely

'Our main issue seems to be getting D&I candidates that meet our recruitment requirements in terms of skills and experience. In the past few months we have received CVs from many diverse candidates, have interviewed a high proportion of them but have not been able to select any based on the fact that they have not been able to meet our skills and experience thresholds.'

A small sized Signatory in the tech/IT sector where most tech employees are based in London

'Our most pressing D&I related problem is ensuring a full pipeline of diverse, high quality, experienced tech candidates when recruiting. Not having this is limiting our ability to grow. We have tried to address this by posting on job boards that promote diversity (e.g. Women in Tech), updating our website to demonstrate our inclusion policies (enhanced maternity leave, remote working), and speaking with organisations that promote D&I initiatives. Some of these efforts attracted candidates, however, we were unable to move forward with them because they were too junior for the roles. Our progress has been slower than hoped for. Recruitment still remains a big challenge for us and is something that we will be continuing to look at.'

Industry perspective:
Can bootcamps provide viable alternative routes into tech?

As part of our survey, we asked Signatories whether they were running any tech skills or careers initiatives designed for people who are currently underrepresented in the tech industry.

The results showed that the majority (58%) are not running any such programmes — with only a handful (5%) planning on doing so in the future. Further, among the initiatives which are being run by Signatories, most are not custom to the company and are executed in a purely philanthropic manner, in primarily external-facing sessions generally featuring other organisations or charities, such as Tech She Can or Code First: Girls.

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Other than the number of training offerings, we also looked at which groups were being addressed. The findings identified women and girls as the most targeted group, followed by ethnic minority individuals and people from underrepresented socio-economic backgrounds.

We noted some recurring social mobility topics as part of these initiatives. These included 'low-income'-directed projects, removal of degree requirements, specific apprenticeships, and working with underprivileged schools or areas. We also observed the use of inclusive practices as part of non-targeted initiatives, such as minimal-barrier-to-entry apprenticeships and information events.

One thing that is difficult to determine from the feedback, however, is whether the training initiatives businesses are using are actually converting learners into tech workers. Several describe individual action with little measurement (in one case, a senior role holder doing work in a certain community, for example, speaking at events. Few schemes, based on the information given, would stand up to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound (SMART) measures, especially in the small to medium group.

Expert take:


Reading between the lines: Measuring the efficacy of interventions

TTC Signatory, Nesta, provided insights on how businesses can best prepare to run and measure D&I pilots and innovation programmes in a way that can deliver measurable results and insights.

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Further work to be done: Getting the data in order

Signatories, across the board, reported difficulties in the collection and use of D&I data. In fact, this was the second most frequently reported problem area — the first being difficulty in finding talent.

Problems with D&I data are largely clustered into two areas:

1) Difficulty creating robust systems and processes to collect and manage the use of D&I data; and
2) Challenges in getting employees to disclose data.


‘​​We need a solid, reliable data-gathering exercise to know where we are with D&I so that we can set goals that are ambitious but possible. Without the foundation of data telling us where we are, we cannot know where we need to go.’ 

- A large sized Signatory in the South West

Data and trust

Data is arguably the bedrock of innovation. Without it, even the best efforts to uncover insight can paint an untruthful picture of what’s actually going on. As referenced in the foreword of this report, without effective and trustworthy measurement of D&I innovation, related efforts will remain hindered by uncertainty about their efficacy.

Plus, the impact of forging ahead with unvalidated diversity and inclusion programmes can cost a business more than the actual price of running them. In research conducted last year, TTC found that whilst 80% of UK tech workers agreed that D&I initiatives were necessary, one in five felt that the interventions their employers used could be counterproductive or even harmful.

If employees do not trust that D&I data is being collected, managed and acted on in meaningful and valuable ways, it potentially undermines any efforts to persuade them to share any personal information – even if it can benefit them or others.

In this section, we explore the cluster of difficulties indicated in our Signatory dataset — specifically around how to retrieve good D&I data, and how to manage and use it in the most effective way possible.

Data challenges with diversity data gaps

The business community’s understanding of different diversity lenses is maturing. More organisations are identifying gaps in their data and seeking to include new lenses in their data collection. One example of this concerns ethnicity.

We asked Signatories to tell us which diversity data they collected from employees by asking employees to self identify. Just 61% of Signatories said they collected data on ethnicity; 31% of their tech employees had not been asked to disclose their ethnicity.

If you are among the Signatories who did not ask their employees about their ethnicity, and you would like to do so, please refer to the TTC Open Playbook, which includes resources on How to collect workforce diversity and inclusion data and a D&I data survey template and suggested survey questions.

Invisible lenses

Whilst the collection of ethnicity data is becoming a more mainstream practice, there are other areas of opportunity which Signatories have highlighted, in particular, ‘invisible lenses’ of diversity – for example, someone’s socio-economic background or whether they are neurotypical or neurodiverse. The table below shows the percentage of organisations that reported collecting diversity information based on this lens, and is also supported by qualitative data. In relation to the latter, several Signatories said they were not clear on how to collect data on socio-economic background and neurodiversity.

What diversity lenses are Signatories measuring

Our aim is to improve diversity across a range of characteristics — not just the straightforward ones. For example, social mobility is difficult to measure but something we definitely need to consider.

Tools and resources for measuring less visible diversity lenses:

If you are looking to start collecting data on the socio-economic backgrounds of your employees, please look at the TTC Open Playbook chapter on Social Mobility, which includes a toolkit from the Social Mobility Commission on how to gather and interpret socio-economic data from your workforce.

The Government has also produced a practical toolkit, in collaboration with CIPD, on Recruiting, managing and developing people with a disability or health condition: A practical guide for line managers.

To learn more about this area, you can view the below recording of the 'This Works: Invisible Lenses' session from TTC's 2022 Inclusion in Tech Festival.

HubSpot Video

 

Data measurement and management challenges associated with government regulations

Several Signatories who reported D&I data measurement challenges said they were struggling with related processes, due to government regulations’ failure to facilitate consistent business practices around D&I issues. In cases where only limited diversity categorisations were permitted, such as with gender reporting for HMRC payroll, it prevented companies from having a single, source-of-truth dataset.

Organisations also reported difficulties in managing information when ethnicity data was caught by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), whereas gender data fell outside its scope. Multiple systems and datasets would therefore be required to measure complete D&I data.

Signatories are not just having a tough time collecting and managing D&I data in the UK. The picture is further complicated when organisations operate internationally. Some Signatories reported difficulties in executing a company-wide D&I data strategy that could be effective and practical across borders — as cultural norms, and laws governing permitted questions, vary from country to country; equally, areas of focus shift relative to the cultural sensibilities at play.

What our Signatories are saying about…

Data measurement and management challenges associated with government regulations

‘It is crucial that we collect diversity data to understand progress, identify improvements to be made in workforce D&I, and complete regulatory reporting. One of the key issues we currently face is a lack of clarity on how we can collect, hold and use this data. Ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability data are all considered sensitive according to GDPR. This means stricter requirements for how the information is used or stored, compared to, for example, gender — presenting challenges for us around understanding the diversity of shortlisted candidates. We would welcome joint assurances by the FCA and ICO that firms can and should collect and process this type of personal data, including special category data, for the purposes of regulatory monitoring, and that this would not be barred by the regulations. This would help remove the barriers to achieving our diversity and inclusion goals and enable us to use insights to shape our D&I agenda for the future.’
‘Implementation of self identification is critical to this fiscal year. We will contact TTC when challenges and best practices are needed. We've started with a challenge around recording non-binary and HMRC rules.’
‘A pressing D&I-related problem is the need for data. We launched our I&D portlet in 2020 to gather diversity data beyond gender. This has to be voluntary to comply with GDPR rules and we have had low uptake around the business despite a rigorous engagement plan. In some locations in particular, collecting this data is seen as unusual and highly sensitive. This is one of our biggest hurdles to overcome.’

A large Signatory organisation

‘It is crucial that we collect diversity data to understand progress, identify improvements to be made in workforce D&I, and complete regulatory reporting. One of the key issues we currently face is a lack of clarity on how we can collect, hold and use this data. Ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability data are all considered sensitive according to GDPR. This means stricter requirements for how the information is used or stored, compared to, for example, gender — presenting challenges for us around understanding the diversity of shortlisted candidates. We would welcome joint assurances by the FCA and ICO that firms can and should collect and process this type of personal data, including special category data, for the purposes of regulatory monitoring, and that this would not be barred by the regulations. This would help remove the barriers to achieving our diversity and inclusion goals and enable us to use insights to shape our D&I agenda for the future.’

A large Signatory organisation

‘Implementation of self identification is critical to this fiscal year. We will contact TTC when challenges and best practices are needed. We've started with a challenge around recording non-binary and HMRC rules.’

A large technology services firm

‘A pressing D&I-related problem is the need for data. We launched our I&D portlet in 2020 to gather diversity data beyond gender. This has to be voluntary to comply with GDPR rules and we have had low uptake around the business despite a rigorous engagement plan. In some locations in particular, collecting this data is seen as unusual and highly sensitive. This is one of our biggest hurdles to overcome.’

Several Signatories who reported D&I data measurement challenges said they were struggling with related processes, due to government regulations’ failure to facilitate consistent business practices around D&I issues. In cases where only limited diversity categorisations were permitted, such as with gender reporting for HMRC payroll, it prevented companies from having a single, source-of-truth dataset.

'We would welcome a government ruling on the required collection of ethnicity data. Having this government directive will enable us to collect the data and have the capability to benchmark our data against the tech industry and leverage best practices from other companies.'

David Prezzano

Dave Prezzano, Managing Director, UK & Ireland at HP


'With a worldwide presence and many variations across markets, any meaningful activation of D&I initiatives needs a close-knit network of dedicated people. We have just that with our network of 'D&I Champions', nearly 200 employees around the world who have set the benchmark for how a global community can really power our agenda. This network of champions helps us develop and deliver our programs and then takes ownership for the activation.

We have established a Strategic Global framework to work collaboratively across the company footprint in a flexible, adaptive and locally responsive manner. Our aim is to leverage existing market efforts, foster shared learning across markets and provide disruptive new approaches to addressing long standing barriers to success. We have identified four Strategic Identity Groups (Gender, Race and Ethnicity, Persons with Disabilities and members of the LGBTQI+ communities) which will require global focus in order to address challenges of under representation at all levels of our organization, dissatisfaction with career progression, perception of inclusion and levels of voluntary attrition.'

Aline Santos 120px

Aline Santos, Chief Brand Officer and Chief Equity Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Unilever

Data challenges associated with D&I data disclosure

Moving beyond responses related to processes, a key theme emerged amongst our Signatories: difficulty in persuading their employees to disclose data surrounding diversity.

This included people who were unresponsive to requests for such information, and those who participated in the data collection exercise but preferred not to disclose personal details.

We also looked at the 11% of employees who declined to disclose information about their ethnicity and considered why this number was so high. Signatories reported human and cultural differences in the way people responded to requests for information. However, this could be due to poor reporting structures, employee confidence in inclusivity, and ethnicity profile awareness, among other reasons. Signatories also mentioned having trouble convincing employees to share, in particular, information about ethnicity, disability, and orientation.

To learn more about this area, you can view the below recording of the 'This Works: Using DE&I Data' session from TTC's 2022 Inclusion in Tech Festival.

HubSpot Video

 

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What our Signatories are saying about…

Data challenges associated with D&I data disclosure

‘Collation of data in our operational areas is a challenge. Some ethnicities are less trusting of the use of their personal data than others. Whilst we are making progress, it's been slow within this population and we need to resolve this.’
‘Understanding why people may be reluctant to disclose their information is generally a challenge; particularly around disability, ethnicity and sexual orientation. A group of people seem to not want to share their data. If we had a better disclosure rate, then we would have a better idea of whether we are reflecting the local community and it would help us direct our efforts to improve.’
‘Alongside many organisations within the Civil Service and outside, the [organisation] has faced complex barriers when encouraging our staff to let the organisation know if they identify as LGBT+, disabled, of a particular faith or what school they went to and responses include ‘this has nothing to do with how I do my job’ and doesn't benefit them in any way. Of course knowing all this information is very important and makes us better positioned to measure our success in making sure that our policies and procedures are fully inclusive, fair and reflect the diversity of our employees and to identify how our employees represent the communities we serve. To break down these perceived barriers the [organisation] has undertaken national campaigns to highlight the benefits to declaration and in between these have continued to take natural opportunities to remind our colleagues the benefits of declaration to them as individuals as well as the organisation as a collective. This is very much a work in progress, and we are always keen to hear from other similar sized organisations that have innovative ideas and eye-catching campaigns that have resulted in significant inroads into removing barriers to declaration.’
'Recognising that increasing ethnicity declaration rates requires sustained campaigns over an extended period of time, we reminded colleagues to disclose their ethnicity in our human resources system. This proved successful; our ethnicity declaration rate increased significantly from 58% in Q3 to 75% at the end of Q1, providing us with more meaningful data to publish our ethnicity pay gap and better monitor and evaluate our progress.'

A large Signatory organisation based in the North of the UK

‘Collation of data in our operational areas is a challenge. Some ethnicities are less trusting of the use of their personal data than others. Whilst we are making progress, it's been slow within this population and we need to resolve this.’

A large Signatory organisation with most tech roles based in London

‘Understanding why people may be reluctant to disclose their information is generally a challenge; particularly around disability, ethnicity and sexual orientation. A group of people seem to not want to share their data. If we had a better disclosure rate, then we would have a better idea of whether we are reflecting the local community and it would help us direct our efforts to improve.’

A government department Signatory

‘Alongside many organisations within the Civil Service and outside, the [organisation] has faced complex barriers when encouraging our staff to let the organisation know if they identify as LGBT+, disabled, of a particular faith or what school they went to and responses include ‘this has nothing to do with how I do my job’ and doesn't benefit them in any way. Of course knowing all this information is very important and makes us better positioned to measure our success in making sure that our policies and procedures are fully inclusive, fair and reflect the diversity of our employees and to identify how our employees represent the communities we serve. To break down these perceived barriers the [organisation] has undertaken national campaigns to highlight the benefits to declaration and in between these have continued to take natural opportunities to remind our colleagues the benefits of declaration to them as individuals as well as the organisation as a collective. This is very much a work in progress, and we are always keen to hear from other similar sized organisations that have innovative ideas and eye-catching campaigns that have resulted in significant inroads into removing barriers to declaration.’

A large Signatory organisation with most tech roles based in London

'Recognising that increasing ethnicity declaration rates requires sustained campaigns over an extended period of time, we reminded colleagues to disclose their ethnicity in our human resources system. This proved successful; our ethnicity declaration rate increased significantly from 58% in Q3 to 75% at the end of Q1, providing us with more meaningful data to publish our ethnicity pay gap and better monitor and evaluate our progress.'

Data at the point of training and recruitment

Whilst improvements to diversity have clearly been hampered by difficulties in collecting and managing data — along with the tech talent shortages mentioned throughout this report — there is light at the end of the tunnel. Tech bootcamps are giving people access to opportunities in the tech ecosystem, while also providing a way for organisations to obtain valuable D&I data at the point of training and recruitment.

Further, these programmes are well positioned to reach many currently underrepresented talent pools. In our recent focus groups with a number of our Signatories, we found that many companies that operate or work with tech bootcamps do so as a way of expanding their access to tech talent and improving diversity in tech.

The impact of tech skills bootcamps on hiring and performance

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In a TTC survey of 250 working-age people in the UK, we asked hiring decision-makers and influencers about the potential impact of tech skills bootcamps on hiring and success in a role. Their overall awareness of these targeted training programmes was high — 89% of respondents knew of them; 54% of whom said they had had direct experience with learners from tech skills bootcamps.

Among those who were aware of tech skills bootcamps, paid and free online platforms such as Codeacademy and Udemy emerged as the most widely known – 64% had knowledge of programmes. In comparison, 47% knew about recruitment bootcamps, while 46% were aware of code bootcamps paid for by learners.

The survey found that younger respondents were less aware of online platforms (54% of under 30s) and recruitment bootcamps (31%). This age cohort also demonstrated less awareness of government-funded training — 39% knew about this, compared with the overall average of 44%. However, these younger individuals were more aware of code bootcamps paid for by learners — 53% of under 30s knew about them, compared to the overall average of 46%.

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We asked respondents to share their impressions of candidates who’ve taken part in tech bootcamps, versus those who entered tech roles through more traditional routes. The resulting data shows subtle differences overall. The greatest distinctions in respondent perceptions of bootcamp candidates versus their traditional counterparts were around understanding of role expectations and the likelihood of staying with a company:

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  • 38% of respondents said bootcamp candidates had a better understanding of what was expected of them in their role; when assessing traditional candidates using the same criteria the corresponding figure was 26%
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  • 37% of respondents said bootcamp candidates had a higher likelihood of staying with a company; 22% of them believed this of traditional candidates

In all the categories covered in the survey – professionalism, likelihood of staying with a company, technical skills, soft skills, understanding expectations of their job and interpersonal skills – bootcamp candidates performed better than traditional candidates. The smallest divergence was around interpersonal skills – 31% of respondents said bootcamp candidates performed better on these, compared to 30% of their traditional counterparts.

When asked how successful or unsuccessful tech skills bootcamp candidates had been in the hiring process or in their tech role, just 2% of respondents selected ‘unsuccessful’. A sizeable 83% chose either ‘mostly successful’ or ‘very successful’, with a further 14% selecting ‘neither successful nor unsuccessful’.

To learn more about this area, you can view the below recording of the 'This Works: How Companies Leverage Alternate Routes' session from TTC's 2022 Inclusion in Tech Festival.

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TTC View: the task ahead

There is no panacea for the multi-faceted pain point of hiring diverse talent amidst a talent shortage. But, as a rule of thumb, there is strength in numbers. Beyond circumstance, the root of the problem – systemic issues related to shortages of diverse talent with the right skills – is perhaps best tackled through inter-organisational collaboration. In joining forces, within the tech community, to improve such systems, it is important that we cast our gaze to the future. In this way, we also address the current dearth of diversity in senior leadership positions. Today’s young hires will be the middle weights and senior leaders of tomorrow.

In a similar vein, there is a role SMEs can play now, which will positively impact the future tech talent pipeline. These companies may be able to more readily implement new D&I practices than larger, more complex multinationals. Such progressive systemic changes feed into the market at scale later, as these trailblazing companies grow. SMEs may be seen as training grounds for developing tech talent and if successful, encourage larger businesses to follow their lead.

There are, of course, solutions to aspects of this central hiring problem right under our noses, in the here and now. While it’s true that women rank salary amongst their highest priorities when considering a job opportunity (according to the aforementioned We Are Tech Women and TTC research), other attractor factors exist – such as flexible working options. In early 2021, the Behavioural Insights Team ran a randomised controlled field trial with over 5.5 million job seekers and found that job ads advertising flexible working attracted up to 30% more candidates. Women were more responsive to notices which mentioned part-time working options than men. Ads that went into detail about each respective flexible working arrangement were more popular with both women and men (compared to the control job offer).

Conclusion

As we have noted throughout the Diversity in Tech report, our Signatories are experiencing many common problems — with a major theme emerging among them: difficulties in fostering a strong and sustainable tech talent pipeline. We do however see a way through this, as companies are telling us about the proactive steps they’ve taken in the right direction.

But for such actions to be meaningful and impactful, it is crucial that they be driven by D&I data. Effectively acquiring and understanding these insights remains both a challenge and positive focal point for the firms we surveyed, and TTC (we are all about “data with teeth”).

As we have said before, there is strength in numbers. This report showcases the benefit of UK companies sharing their data and experiences with their counterparts, across regions and industries, through an intermediary (in this case TTC) to identify patterns and practices that can ultimately benefit and fortify the whole tech ecosystem.

The willingness by our Signatories to make their responses available to other organisations (whether anonymously or through attributed quotes) is both powerful and, in this competitive environment, bold. Amidst a war for talent, standing up and sharing insights in the best interest of all, can also be potentially game changing for D&I in tech more broadly — in the immediate and longer term. Facilitation of this is a core reason for TTC’s existence.

While we pursue our goal of growing our Signatory numbers, we remain laser-focused on fulfilling our role of being a steward of D&I data for the common good. As such, we often get asked what organisations can gain from being part of TTC. We want this survey and the rest of our toolkit to serve as resources companies can tap into, to further their actions and results in this space.

But being a TTC Signatory goes beyond the learnings of this report. It’s about stepping up to the plate as a business that takes responsibility for contributing to a wider effort to make things fair and fruitful for everyone. The valuable intelligence our organisations provide helps shape a wider tech landscape that more people want to be part of, thus welcoming in new companies, rather than preaching to the converted.

The Tech Talent charter will continue to steward data insights in our annual reports. Please also continue to interact with us, throughout the year, as we work to address every problem and solution you share with us and uncover more resources.

We’re calling on all our Signatories to really assume the mantle we’ve outlined here. We invite you to help others find new ways to tackle issues in your areas of expertise, and really lean into the many engagement opportunities we extend throughout 2022.

DE&I Resources


For free resources and guides on how to tackle any of the D&I subjects raised in this report, please visit the TTCs Open Playbook.

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Thank you

This report was made possible thanks to the generous support of many organisations and individuals. Many thanks to our sponsors.

Principal Partners

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Supporting Partners

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And additional thanks to

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Individual thanks and credits

Lexie Papaspyrou
Karen Blake
Anna Hannis
James Barnden
Marcus Evans
Shana Ting-Lipton
Nerea Gomez
Jordi Williams
Steve Burke
Alex Bond
Lynne Ryan-Andrews
Kelvin Dews
Ruban Yogaratnam

 

Click here to read more about our methodology