New research in the UK says three in five tech businesses admit they are ‘behind’ when it comes to tackling diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) issues.
Global technology consultancy Thoughtworks who conducted the research says the issues that need urgent attention are career development for minority groups, representation in senior posts and at board level, and allyship and understanding.
A third of those surveyed said their organisation either had no plans to address career development issues for minority groups or simply did not know where to start. 22% felt the same when it came to better representation and 24% for allyship and understanding.
More plans in place for gender and age discrimination than race and ethnicity
The proportion of tech companies with plans in place to tackle issues around gender equality (41%) and age discrimination (34%) was significantly higher than those with plans to address race and ethnicity (29%).
Just 27% of tech organisations invested in diversity and inclusion training.
Perhaps surprisingly, the technology sector fared worse than the UK business average when it came to having plans in place to tackle issues including disability (23% vs average of 25%), religion (16% vs 18%), neurodiversity (15% vs 18%) and social mobility (19% vs 21%).
However, the research showed 87% of businesses in the IT sector agreed there were business benefits from DE&I – including better employee relationships and staff retention.
“Whether it is age, gender, or ethnic diversity, we have to be honest that the tech sector is out of balance,” said Amy Lynch, head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Thoughtworks UK.
“But we can change this. Change happens with positive action, effective policies, and hard work. There is a wealth of talent out there that does not fit a preconceived “mould” and importantly could offer a sector, which relies on innovation and different ways of thinking, a fresh perspective.
“A strong DEI culture will be an important differentiator in the quest to attract and retain the best talent too. It is the responsibility of leaders within the sector to create paths to give groups that feel technology is not for them the confidence to apply for jobs."