The tech industry is growing drastically and continues to contribute a huge amount to the UK economy. However, traditionally, the tech industry was predominantly made up of white males - but is this figure now shifting? Is there a good representation of diversity in the industry? In this blog, we delve into the statistics of diversity in the tech industry whilst also giving tips on how to attract and hire for diversity.
In a recent study, BAME employees make up 14% of the UK working age population, but only 12% of the workforce. With the IT industry, representation of ethnic minorities is estimated to be at 19%, which indicates that the balance of the industry is slowly shifting to be more diverse.
Although the representation of BAME employees in tech is shifting in the right direction, it's become frequent that when tech companies hire individuals from a minority background, they tend to struggle to retain them. Working cultures and stereotyping are some of the main reasons why people leave the industry along with pay and unequal opportunities making an impact on someone’s decision to leave.
It has since become apparent that companies with more than 250 employees will need to reveal their gender pay gap, but it has also been discovered that there is a significant pay gap between ethnic minority and white employees. PwC have revealed that they pay their ethnic diverse employees 9% less than other workers in the country. PwC have also calculated that the BAME pay gap back in 2020 was 9.2% and the BAME bonus gap was 36.9% - although they claim that their pay gap is simply driven by the fact there are more non BAME staff in their senior positions, the figures are still disappointing and low.
Tech companies are now starting to realise that to attract diverse talent in tech, they need to be proactive in doing so. Having diverse talent can bring many benefits to your company, however, it is impossible to choose who applies for your open positions.
Finding diverse candidates is possible if you're consistently trying to reach out and find those potential hires, whilst of course making your company stand out. There are plenty of things you can do that will help you to increase diverse talent in your company, so here are some of the simple steps you can take.
Ways to Attract Diverse Talent
Define diversity -
It may be an obvious place to start, but many businesses are guilty of not truly understanding what diversity actually means. The definitions of diversity can often be narrow, and people tend to think about diversity in terms of just race or gender - however, physical ability, gender identity and many more underestimated groups are often overlooked.
It's extremely important to recognise within your own company, the groups which are well represented in comparison to those that are underrepresented and how this can vary across teams or departments.
Developing your current talent -
When attracting diverse talent in the tech industry, you need to start by shifting your focus to your current diverse team. By promoting diversity within your company, people from minority backgrounds will acknowledge your company and see it as a great place to work, with the chance of applying for any open positions. Promoting diversity within your company won't only attract diverse talent in tech, it could also give you a competitive advantage.
Having a diverse team will also help to remove any existing bias within your organisation whilst helping those from minorities feel a lot more welcome - especially when having diverse team members on your interview panel. The interview panel is an extremely important step to ensuring diverse candidates aren't overlooked, and it can also bring a better perspective to your organisation.
Blind recruitment screening -
Assessing and re-evaluating your hiring process can also influence attracting diverse talent in tech. Unintentional bias recruitment can exclude a candidate from positions which can be based on a check box. On the other hand, if you're using a recruitment agency to find candidates on your behalf, it's crucial to tell them that you're serious about wanting to find diverse talent.
It can also be beneficial if you introduce a blind screening process - this will not only get rid of unintentional bias, but it will help to attract diverse talent in tech as it can be seen as a fair way of hiring.
Inclusive job descriptions -
Organisations need to be conscious of how they word their job descriptions, whilst including a variety of inclusive words that can appeal to a range of people. Job descriptions can say a lot about a company, especially for their working culture, so the job description proves to be a lot more important than you'd expect.
The vocabulary used in a job description can be critical when you want to attract diverse talent in tech. Ensuring that you promote your company as 'inclusive' can encourage diverse talent to apply for the positions, however, you need to consider words that could intimidate candidates - these could be more masculine words that will intimidate some candidates, particularly women, resulting in potential candidates losing interest.
Building partnerships -
Another tip for attracting diverse talent in tech is developing effective public relations - this can be a great step for business and will also create partnerships for you to promote diversity. Some companies partner with minority schools/colleges and universities that helps them to inspire and attract diverse talent - this can help you to target specific hiring criteria's.
Actively seek diverse talent -
Companies that are actively seeking diverse talent should start considering about posting their jobs on specially designed sites that will appeal to their non-traditional candidates. Going above and beyond when posting your live roles will only help you to attract a wider variety of talent as there are specific boards for women in tech and minority groups.
You aren't in control over who applies for the position, but you are able to control where you advertise your roles and which candidates you want to attract specifically - rather than waiting for candidates to apply for your roles, you can actively seek them out by attending specific events, universities, and communities.
Diverse hiring is an important step towards increasing diversity in your organisation, however, retention depends on all employees feeling a sense of belonging within your company. Reviewing your internal practices and policies to make sure they also meet inclusion is incredibly important.
If you want to build a diverse talent pipeline for your company, innovating your hiring process is extremely important. There are many ways that recruiters and hiring managers can use to boost the diversity of companies in tech, from changing the way they use language to addressing their own hiring biases. you could create a culture that really values diversity and an employer brand that will only attract the best talent regardless of age, race, gender identity, location, ability, and orientation.
If you want to attract diverse candidates to your company, you're going to have to step out of your comfort zone and get creative about how you source - whether that's through your own recruitment process or using a recruitment agency.