London's tech firms are starting to tackle the industry's diversity problem by changing up their hiring approach

 
Lian Parsons
Silicon Roundabout has been a hotspot for tech firms - but they haven't been big on diversity according to TLA research
Silicon Roundabout has been a hotspot for tech firms - but they haven't been big on diversity according to TLA research (Source: Getty)

The capital’s tech businesses are taking steps to address the industry’s diversity problem, according to a new survey by Tech London Advocates (TLA).

This month, the independent network of over 4,300 tech experts and leaders in London carried out a study into how the industry is approaching gender diversity.

Of the 210 senior leaders from TLA surveyed, 46 per cent said they now have an HR or recruitment strategy aimed at increasing workplace diversity, with 49.2 per cent believing the industry is actively biased against women.

Read more: Why tech VCs must reflect the diversity of the firms they fund

But progress is still slow-moving, according to TLA. Only 5.8 per cent of respondents said gender diversity drives value and competency within the workforce of a tech company. The figures for multicultural diversity for the same question weren’t much better, at 9.4 per cent of respondents.

Neither were valued as highly as a range of professional expertise (40.8 per cent) or cross-sector professional expertise (29.8 per cent), which were the two most popular factors.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, said:

Peel back a layer of tech entrepreneurialism and disappointment is revealed – a lack of diversity and gender bias that remains the industry’s Achilles heel.

Whether it be opening up immigration policy, increasing access to digital skills or empowering women to succeed in technology, we must unite to ensure world-class talent finds a home in London’s tech sector, regardless of race, age or gender.

Enough is enough; more tech companies must demand better for the future.

Tech London Advocates released research into the issue last October in its Diversity in Tech Manifesto. It recommended that companies “demand the right culture” by “creating an inclusive culture from the top down,” as well as supporting existing programmes and organisations seeking to address diversity and inclusion.

Read more: Fintech firms aren't too hot on diversity in the workplace

Failing to reach a large chunk of the population comes at a time when 26.7 per cent of tech professionals felt a shortage of talent as the biggest challenge facing the industry.

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