Support of gender diversity charter to widen digital and tech talent pool

As we reported yesterday there are gender as well as economic imbalances which could cause long term problems for the tech sector. While there is a looming digital skills gap – with the UK needing one million more tech workers by 2020, just one in ten females are currently taking A-level computer studies. Currently only 17 percent of the tech/ICT workforce in the UK are female, well below the 47 percent of women in the workforce overall. To help address the issue, the Tech Talent Charter is a commitment by  organisations (including Nationwide, BBC, HP, Monster and Cancer Research) to a set of pledges designed to increase gender diversity in the UK tech workforce. These pledges include inclusive recruitment processes and contributing company employment and diversity data anonymously to be published publically annually. Following yesterday’s budget, the Tech Talent Charter is announcing today that it has received Government funding as it welcomes its 90th signatory.

The latest organisations to become signatories include HP, CA, BBC, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) who are joining the mission to tackle the gender imbalance in the UK technology industry. They join a growing list of 90 businesses that have signed up to the Charter since its inception two years ago, including Monster, Global Radio and Nationwide to show a commitment to implement recruitment and retention policies that will support women in digital and technology roles. The Tech Talent Charter is a Community Interest Company (CIC) and was included in the UK Digital Strategy. DCMS has provided the Tech Talent Charter with a grant to support its early-stage development.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital said: “You can’t catch all the fish if you only fish in half the pool. Yet our tech industry is still too male dominated, in fact and in culture. We want to see equal opportunities for men and women in one of the fastest growing areas of life, and we want to see Britain’s tech industry using the talents of the whole nation. So we funded this fantastic initiative to help tackle the gender divide in technology jobs to end the gender divide, which is wrong in principle and wrong in practice.

“As part of the Digital Strategy we committed to work with industry on the Tech Talent Charter so everyone can access exciting technology careers. “The charter gives organisations tangible actions and principles they can adopt and I encourage all organisations employing tech specialists to sign up.”

The retention of tech talent, and encouragement of candidates to roles, is essential for the UK to have the skilled tech workforce necessary for a thriving economy. Research by Tech City UK stated 1 million tech workers are needed by 2020; female workers have a vital role to play in ensuring the UK continues to have a strong role in technological and digital innovation. Alarmingly the representation of females is disproportionately low – only 17 percent of tech and telco workers are currently women. These stats highlight that businesses need to do all they can to bring female talent into their organisations and celebrate the valuable contribution they make.

Debbie Forster, CEO, Tech Talent Charter, commented, ‘We’re very excited to be taking the next step on our journey. It’s vital for the industry to come together to show females that a career in technology is incredibly rewarding, to increase the number of females working within the industry, to attract those considering a career change, and to inspire younger generations.

“One single company can’t do it alone which is why we created the Tech Talent Charter, to bring organisations and individuals together to effect the change we need. We’ve come a long way since we first started out, and it’s hugely rewarding to see the amount of signatories we already have on board. We look forward to welcoming many more as we continue our important work.’

For more information about the charter please click here