London Tech Week: Diversity & Inclusion in Tech 2022

Gender disparities rampant in tech as women only account for 1 in 5 careers in industry
 
Marla Ubhi, CEO of QU – business consultancy specialising in female and ethnic minority owned businesses – discusses the advantages of having a Diversity & Inclusion recruitment strategy for tech companies

The commencement of this year’s London Tech Week will see agendas discuss the issues of inclusion, inflation, and immigration as representatives from across the global tech industry gather. Over the past years, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) in the STEM sector has been a prominent topic of discussion with the tech industry consolidating into one of the major contributors to the UK economy. However, as the UK continues to struggle to recruit for tech jobs with a staggering 150,000 vacancies in the sector, QU – business consultants specialising in ethnic minority and female owned businesses – highlight that women are still sorely absent in the UK startup tech arena, making up only 19% of the general talent pool and 23% at senior level compared to 49% and 29% respectively in the wider economy.
 
Ethnic minorities in the Tech sector fair better than in the labour market as a whole, representing 11.8% of employment across the wider job market and 15.2% for tech. However, this does not represent the UK population, where, according to the 2011 Census, 20% of people living in the UK are from ethnic minority backgrounds. Evidence suggests that diversity, equity and inclusion are crucial to the bottom line of an organisation – McKinsey found that 48% of gender-diverse companies are likely to outperform their counterparts with ‘equally-compelling’ results for ethnic and culturally diverse companies. In a tough labour market, it is crucial to explore why tech businesses struggle to recruit and promote from a wider base.
 
Marla Ubhi, CEO of business consultancy – QU – and Chair of Aviation Tech platform, TailHail – comments on the steps organisations should take to promote a D&I strategy:
 
“Britain’s inclusive business practices have driven us towards tremendous progress over the past couple of decades, however, there is still a lot of work left to improve diversity within organisations, and we believe this is imbedded in a companies’ recruitment culture.
 
“When we interact with our clients, we sense real commitment towards implementing an efficient D&I strategy, yet many don’t know where to start, we suggest beginning with small steps will translate to real improvements. By focusing on development within an organisation’s current diverse talent pool, building partnerships with the community and minority institutions and actively seeking diverse candidates by using inclusive wording in job advertisements – tangible progress can be made.
 
“In terms of securing finance for female and ethnic minority founders for tech companies, little has changed in terms of external support from the government and VCs to take their businesses to the next level and scale effectively, the issue is far worst for the ethnic minority community. We designed QU to be an inclusive confidence-inspiring personal and business brand-building programme for everyone, enabling our community of like-minded entrepreneurs to break through the barriers.”

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