sector board senior tech technology one report

techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

‘Worrying’ lack of diversity in Britain’s tech sector, report findsBritain’s technology sector has a “worrying” lack of diversity among itssenior leadership, according to a report that shows the sector lags far behindthe FTSE 100 and the wider economy on measures including gender, race andclass representation.Just 8.5% of senior leaders in technology are from a minority background,according to the report from agency Inclusive Boards, while women make up only12.6% of board members in the sector – compared to the 30% femalerepresentation now achieved by FTSE 100 businesses.The agency gathered information about the senior leadership and boardcomposition of 500 of Britain’s largest tech firms, collecting demographicdata for 1,882 executives and a further 1,696 board members.“The figures are particularly worrying when you consider how important thetech sector is,” said Inclusive Boards’ director Samuel Kasumu. “Itcontributed close to £200bn to the economy in the last year and its growthrate is 2.5 times faster than the whole economy.“Every other sector is reliant on technology: you have edtech, fintech,govtech, and healthtech. Our future, every single aspect of our lives, isincreasingly becoming reliant on technology.“So it’s very, very dangerous and alarming to see that particular groups arenot being able to fully participate in the sector, and in a sense are beingleft behind.”One in nine senior leaders in technology businesses comes from a BAMEbackground. Photograph: B&M Noskowski/Getty Images/iStockphotoGender is where the sector performs worst. Almost two-thirds of boards, andmore than 40% of senior leadership teams, have no female representation atall, while across the sector the average is just 12.6% of board members and16.6% of senior executives.A separate report on gender in FTSE-350 boardrooms, published on Tuesday andcarried out as part of the government-commissioned Hampton-Alexander Review,found that five firms had no women directors and 25% had only one woman in theboardroom. Review chairman Sir Philip Hampton described those businesses as“clearly out of touch” and suggested a consumer boycott of businesses thatfailed to promote women to top jobs.The socio-economic background of the tech sector is also very different fromwider UK society. More than 33% of board members and 31% of senior executivesattended private schools, compared to just 8% of the UK as a whole.Technology businesses came closest to fair representation over their racialmake-up. One in nine senior leaders in the industry comes from black, Asian orminority ethnic backgrounds, compared to one in twelve for the FTSE 100. Butthat still lags the UK as a whole, because one in seven of the population hasa BAME background. It is also significantly worse than the demographics ofLondon, where 300,000 tech jobs are based. More than 40% of the capital’spopulation is from a minority ethnic background.Technology companies often argue that diversity is hard to achieve because ofthe lack of a “pipeline” of talent, Hampton noted – the claim that therearen’t the right people studying STEM subjects at school or university, orgoing into the tech sector after graduation. Kasumu, however, said thattraditional response doesn’t apply to the roles his report examined.“When you look at the typical board member … it is less likely that they wouldbe somebody from a developer background. We all know the story of MarkZuckerberg, but that’s not necessarily a traditional story. It is usuallysomebody with a different type of expertise, who has a value that doesn’trequire them to be a coder.“On a board you can have a finance director, an HR specialist, a legal andcompliance specialist, and somebody who’s really well connected and involvedin communications.“At board level, variety is the key strength point. So there’s no real reasonwhy the tech sector should be so disproportionately worse than other sectorsat board and senior leadership level.”

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