“If we are to thrive in a digital future, we must ensure that we have all of our voices heard when it comes to designing technology. If we do not, we risk creating a world which is for the few and not for the many.”
We were delighted to welcome Jacqueline de Rojas CBE to our masterclass the discussion centred around how tech leaders can drive diversity and inclusion during challenging times.
What was the landscape like before lockdown?
Government and industry were focused on support the Rose review showed that only 10% of female-founded businesses were able to scale to over £1m turnover compared 21% of male founders. In addition, the statistics show that women make up 19% of the tech industry, 10% in cyber, and only 6% in engineering.
By 2050 there will be twice as many people over 65 as there are now so there’s an ever-shrinking talent pool.
Companies have halted recruitment therefore diversity and inclusion has stalled but we now have more opportunities to work from home. It’s not just an option but now a necessity. Many have been asking for this for a long time and Covid-19 has shown how successfully large teams can work remotely. It will be difficult in the future to say no to flexible working requests.
What are the opportunities now?
As leaders in tech, the priority is to keep staff safe and secure. We need to be clear about who is an essential worker in the workplace and the implication for flexible working. There are new opportunities to be more inclusive covering accessibility, neurodiversity and tolerance. This pandemic will hopefully drive leaders to be more tolerant and inclusive. Diversity and inclusion is not something you do it’s something you are. Hopefully, metrics of a different nature will emerge and tolerance could be one of them.
It’s so important that there is diversity in those who write the tech as this has such a big bearing on wider society.
You can watch the masterclass here.