Monster.co.uk launches Tech Talent Charter to improve diversity

Organisations including Code First Girls and Stemettes aim to get more women in tech

Online recruitment firm Monster.co.uk officially launched the Tech Talent Charter today, outlining key steps to employ more women in the technology sector.

First proposed last November, the charter has found support from organisations including Code First Girls, Stemettes and Apps for Good, RBI, Michael Page Group, S3 Group and JLR Solutions.

The charter will seek to address the lack of women in tech, as Monster.co.uk's own study with YouGov found that 22 per cent of UK employers believe women are at a disadvantage when securing tech jobs, but that 75 per cent have no plans to encourage gender equality.

Amali de Alwis, CEO of Code First Girls, said: "When it comes to the charter commitment, and it comes down to wanting to do something rather than just say something, we strongly believed that there was a need for companies - and individuals that join us - to commit to something.

"If you want to join the charter then you are making a commitment to say 'this is something I'm striving towards'. It's not to say you're perfect, or that you have to tick every box before you join, but it is to say that, if this is something that you want to do and you're serious about making change in your company, that you actually put your money where your mouth is."

The above organisations will encourage businesses to sign up to the charter's key measures, which include commitments to interview at least one female candidate for each role, collective support for longer-term initiatives for the younger generation, and the appointment of a senior representative with responsibility for the charter.

De Alwis added: "Vital technology skills, whether in coding, data science, data security or UX/UI, now play a critical role in the way we live and work. With the UK looking at a needing further one million tech workers by 2020, we all have to take a serious look at how we manage talent in our companies and update restricting incumbent behaviour which are holding us back from continued success."

Of the 1,005 UK employees Monster surveyed, 59 per cent said that there were more men than women in technical or digital roles at their company, and only 35 per cent believed men and women are equally represented.

A total 47 per cent of women said they have either experienced gender inequality firsthand or witnessed it.

More than half of respondents also called for transparency on equal pay, while 43 per cent called for paternity and family leave for both men and women, and 40 per cent demanded greater work flexibility.

A third of respondents said there should be more encouragement for women to study STEM subjects and 31 per cent said there should be better equality training for managers and staff.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "Although the sector is flourishing, it is vital that we actively encourage more girls to work in digital and tech to reverse the under-representation of women in this industry. Our current female tech pioneers are the role models for the next generation.

"I am determined to work hand-in-hand with individuals and employers like these to nurture more young female entrepreneurs that will contribute to London's economic prosperity."

London is the best place in the UK for women to build a business, according to a separate survey by technology recruitment firm Mortimer Spinks, with female tech workers in London 2.5 times more likely to work for a tech start-up than women in the rest of the UK.

Problems still need to be addressed, however, with one in 10 London tech teams reporting that they have no female employees and more than half saying less that 15 per cent of their teams are female.

Other measures outlined in the charter are to set benchmarks to measure diversity, including getting signatories to agree to share and publish the diversity profiles of UK employees and any other work on equality, diversity and inclusion. Another is to support initiatives to encourage young people into tech.

"Technology's gender problem has not gone away. Female CEOs have been instrumental to the rise of London's tech sector, creating some of the city's most exciting businesses, but the lack of wider representation for women at senior levels is shameful," added Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates.

Earlier this week, a survey by Tech London Advocates revealed that a fifth of tech companies still have no women at board level.

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