Diversity to be less important to growth post-pandemic, say 14% of firms

This finding came despite 68% of respondents to the study, carried out by Attest, declaring commitment to keeping diversity and inclusion a top priority, while 60% stated that the Coronavirus outbreak wouldn’t impact their approach to planning for growth post-pandemic.

Additionally, 11% said that diversity and inclusion is not planned to be an important factor in dealing with the impact of the crisis.

“We’re encouraged by these findings, but know from experience that intention doesn’t always equal action when it comes to building diversity,” said Debbie Forster, CEO of the Tech Talent Charter.

“The UK needs diverse tech talent now like never before, across every sector of business. A focus on inclusion and diversity must not be seen as a distraction from a post-Coronavirus recovery, but as an essential tool for building a smarter, more innovative and progressive workforce, which will be vital for both the long-term success of individual businesses and the UK economy as a whole.”

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In regards to reasons for prioritising diversity and inclusion, the top three identified motivations were:

  • Because it makes my business a great place to work (27%)
  • Because it means we can recruit and retain the best talent (26%)
  • Because it’s the right thing to do (26%)

Carried out in May 2020, the study surveyed 500 UK business decision-makers.

Tips for driving diversity

Alongside the study, the Tech Talent Charter has provided the following tips for promoting diversity while dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic:

  1. Integrate flexible and remote working options. Companies in a variety of industries have maintained productivity while working remotely, and this could continue for many employees post-pandemic.
  2. Consider 0ffering meaningful part-time work. Two million women in the UK are currently out of work due to caring commitments, so offering work on a part-time basis could allow female employees to work around these. While 76% of women out of work are keen to return, 54% say that time requirements are too high.
  3. Change the culture and narrative. Retaining the best staff possible not only involves inclusivity being prioritised at the top, but also have it be reflected throughout the entire company.
  4. Support returning staff. Re-hiring employees that have spent extended periods out of work can save time and money that would otherwise be spent on searching for new talent.
  5. Consider retraining and career conversion schemes. Many companies find that employees are keen to retrain into tech positions. Recent research has found that 45% of women are interested in retraining for tech jobs.