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Tech Talent Charter launches benchmark to keep tabs on gender in IT roles

Industry collaborative Tech Talent Charter releases data on its signatory organisations to highlight the difference made by committing to shifting the dial on gender

The Tech Talent Charter (TTC) has launched a report to benchmark the current state of gender diversity in signatory businesses and allow proper measurement of future progress made by following its guidelines.

The first annual benchmarking report has found 71% of its 200-plus member companies already have active policies in place to promote diversity and inclusion throughout their organisations.

Each year, TTC will release anonymised data about its member organisations to ensure the dial is shifting for women in tech.

Debbie Forster, CEO of Tech Talent Charter, said: “We believe that, first and foremost, any policy that is implemented should align with a company’s unique culture. If a policy cannot fully capture company culture, businesses should focus on identifying the metrics and measurements that will set them up for sustainable progress.

“Our members know that if you genuinely build an inclusive culture, diversity will follow. Policies can and should underpin culture, but the culture is the essential component.”  

The Tech Talent Charter was launched in 2015 to act as a collaborative commitment for its member organisations to actively try to increase the gender diversity of the technology workforce in the UK. It has done this through strategies such as adoption and sharing of best practices, developing inclusive recruitment processes and appointing senior representatives dedicated to upholding TTC commitments.

Part of the aim of the Tech Talent Charter is to measure the progress made by organisations that are taking part in certain diversity practices to make it easier to see what does and does not make a difference.

According to TTC representatives, it is the first initiative in the UK to release data tracking the progress of gender diversity in the technology industry.

Policies can and should underpin culture, but the culture is the essential component
Debbie Forster, Tech Talent Charter

Many of the 200-plus member companies plan to make changes in the next year to implement diversity strategies – and athough 27% of the signatories do not have diversity and inclusion policies in place, they plan to implement these in 2019.

TTC found its signatory companies, which account for more than half a million UK workers, had a higher percentage of women in technical roles than more widely in the UK – women held 26% of technical roles in the companies who have signed the charter, as opposed to 19% across the UK as a whole.

But there is still a difference in the number of women from role to role, with user-centred design roles being made up of 48% women, as opposed to engineer and programmer roles, which were made of only 15% women.

A quarter of IT operations roles in TTC’s signatory companies are made up by women, and women accounted for 31% of data roles.

Negative stereotyping surrounding technical industry roles is known to put off certain groups for looking for roles with a more technical spin, often leading to a majority of women in technology taking up roles requiring softer skills.

Unconscious bias during recruitment also often leads to a lack of women being involved in the recruitment process, a lack of female candidates considered for technical roles, or women de-selecting themselves for these roles.

TTC found 36% of the member companies already have policies in place to increase the number of women included in shortlists for interviews, and 32% plan to implement this in the next year.

The size of a business was also found to affect its gender split, with women representing around 53% of technical roles in micro-businesses as opposed to in larger businesses, where women made up around 19% of technical roles.

Commit to diversity

The government has made a number of commitments aimed at increasing diversity in the technology industry, such as launching a £1m fund to increase diversity in technology, as well as a number of education initiatives aimed at getting more people of all types into technical roles.

The government backed the Tech Talent Charter in 2017 as part of its commitment to encourage greater diversity in the technology industry.

Minister for digital and the creative industries, Margot James, said: “One year on from the launch of the Tech Talent Charter, it’s encouraging to see that there’s real buy-in to improve the diversity of our workforce. Diversity makes good business sense and it’s positive to see smaller companies leading the way. I now want more of our larger companies to sign up to the charter and commit to getting more women into tech jobs.”

Over the next year, TTC hopes to work more closely with any third parties working with its signatories, as it found 57% of its members outsource some or all of its technology roles.

TTC has also launched an Open Playbook for Best Practice, a collection of policies and practices its member organisations found to have worked well, and it available for others to learn from.

Sinead Bunting, vice-president of European marketing at Monster and founder of the Tech Talent Charter, said: “Across industry, it is clear we still have a long way to go. We want to really move the dial in 2019, and to do this we must focus on collaborating to find practical solutions to age-old problems like retraining, returners and recruitment.”

Read more about women in tech

  • has found that a majority of women in the technology industry would recommend a career in the sector to young women in schools, as well as to female undergrads.
  • Read this e-guide looking at the opinions many industry experts have on how to accelerate the number of women in the technology industry and why doing so is important.

Read more on Diversity in IT

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