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UK startups are five times more likely to have women working at them than startups in the US, according to a report commissioned by Wayra UK, Telefónica Open Future’s digital startup accelerator.
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The startupDNA report also found that those working at startups in the UK are two-and-a-half times more likely to be under the age of 36 and 10 times more likely to be from an ethnicity other than white and Asian.
London was revealed as the driving force for diversity in UK startups, finding that the capital is three times more likely to have women in its startup community than in Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv. New York City was revealed as the world’s top place for female entrepreneurs, with 24% of women claiming to be in leadership roles in the city’s startup ecosystem.
Employees working at startups in the UK said diversity was key to their success, with 78.9% claiming it helped their business to compete in the market. Furthermore, 75% said diversity had helped them overcome challenges and 71.5% agreed it helped them in finding new markets.
Of the women surveyed in the UK, 29% identified themselves to be in a leadership role. The research also found that women are three-and-a-half times more likely to be attracted to working at a startup that is more diverse than the men who were questioned.
Startups are also 36% more likely to have female leaders than FTSE100 companies, according to the report.
Simon Fanshawe, a co-founder of astar-fanshawe, said: “What this research tells us is that startups would get far more growth, innovation and entry into new markets if there was a more diverse combination of people involved. For too long, cultural differences and even languages were seen as putting the UK at some kind of disadvantage. But this research clearly demonstrates the impact the UK’s rich social make-up is having on the growth and performance of our fledgling businesses.
Read more about diversity in IT
- Paul Saunders, director of technology at the University of Dundee, talks about the cultural differences between the US and the UK in business attitudes.
- Intel has committed itself to hiring more women and ethnic minorities, and is calling on other tech firms to do the same.
- We all have to do our part in tackling the IT skills shortage in the UK to ensure the industry continues to grow.
“We are fully aware that a startup in its infancy must focus on growth if it is to survive, and may not fully appreciate the benefits of what diversity can bring.”
Gary Stewart, director of Wayra UK & Wayra UnLtd, said: “I passionately believe that if you actively recruit talent from diverse sources, you’ll not only strengthen your team and bring on additional expertise, you’ll also experience more growth as a result.”
Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of UK's fintech membership association Innovate Finance, said: “This report shows that diversity makes sense. It brings new ideas for services and different solutions to problems in a world of changing markets and customer demands.
“It is also brings a range of skills, experience and cultural understanding to inform companies. It is a reality that we must all embrace. Inclusion is the solution for a better future for everyone.”
The report also identified sectors in which men and women had no or little participation, with no men reporting to be involved in the lifestyle sector and no women being part of a banking or finance startup.