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London’s tech firms failing to employ women at board level

A London Tech Advocate survey presented at the House of Lords finds almost a quarter of London tech companies have no women employed at board level

Around one in four (23%) technology companies in London fail to employ women at board level, a survey from Tech London Advocates has found.

The survey by the independent network questioned more than 1,600 of its London Tech Advocates community members, over half of which (59%) said tech firms in London do not reflect diversity in the city.

Furthermore, 15% said they work at a company with no women at senior management level and 39% said women held less than a fifth of senior management roles.

Despite the findings, 46% of respondents feel technology companies in London are more accessible to women than other cities around the world.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said: “For a sector identified with disruption and change, these figures are very disappointing. We live in a city with a global reputation for diversity, yet our most exciting industry fails to reflect this in its most senior positions.

“London Technology Week is a chance to showcase the scale of our technology sector, but we must also use it as an opportunity to attract more people to digital careers.”

The research was released during the Tech London Advocates Women in Tech working group meeting at the House of Lords on 15 June 2015.

The event was hosted by Martha Lane Fox as part of London Technology Week.

Lane Fox said: “There is a greater proportion of women in the House of Lords than British tech companies. We must accept the scale of this problem and work together to put women at the heart of the technology sector. Mobilising a currently unused resource will have huge benefits for the digital industry, the economy and UK PLC.”

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Sarah Luxford, director at executive search firm Nexec Leaders and Women in Tech working group co-leader, said: “Diversity is not a project – it’s your attitudes and beliefs. Tech London Advocates Women in Tech group works with the key influencers of the capital’s tech community to help shift the way we think, feel and act towards diversity in our industry.

“Our event is an opportunity to celebrate companies pioneering diverse workforce practices and supportive cultures that reflect today’s society.”

Nikki Watkins, chief evolution officer at Tyche and Women in Tech working group co-leader, said: “2015 is already proving to be a year in which gender intelligence is higher up the strategic agenda than ever before.  

“Companies are doing more than paying lip service – they are recognising they may be sabotaging their future success if they don’t do something different. Sarah and I are excited to be leading the Women in Tech initiative to start the ripple from London across the UK.” 

Melissa Di Donato, head of the technology working group at 30% Club, said: “There are huge opportunities for women in technology across all levels. Everyone working in the private sector shares a responsibility to encourage the next generation of female professionals – offer mentoring, engage with independent organisations and engage with your local community.”

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The Old Boys Club continues to waste an incredibly valuable resource. This blind sexism is bad in the United States and, it seems, worse almost everywhere else. Not only is it illogical to deny women their place at the (board) table (or workbench), it smacks of deep insecurity and ignorance.

The men who have diminished women look fearful and stupid. The people who have put them in a position of power look even worse. it's time to leave the 19th century behind.
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I'm not seeing anything in these results to indicate that the tech companies are at fault here. It could very easily be the case that they haven't got qualified female candidates that could be employed at the board level. IT careers are still lacking in popularity among women, so my guess is that that is the cause behind this trend.
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