Tech staff retention for underrepresented groups a struggle for businesses

Wiley Edge’s Diversity in Tech 2022 report has revealed that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of UK businesses admit to struggling to retain tech staff from underrepresented backgrounds

According to the research, failure to create inclusive work environments is contributing to poor employee retention rates amongst young tech workers, despite 65 per cent of responding businesses claiming to work towards fostering an inclusive company culture.

Complaints related to diversity and inclusion from current and former employees have been received by 18 per cent of businesses, while 27 per cent of 18-24 year old tech workers have left a role due to a lack of sense of belonging.

Other key factors for leaving a tech role included biased treatment from managers (22 per cent); lack of support for additional need (21 per cent); and a company culture that made them feel unwelcome or uncomfortable (16 per cent).

In addition, awareness around the career possibilities that talent, regardless of background, can realise was found to be low, with only 26 per cent of 18-24-year-olds not currently working in tech believing that the industry offers excellent career opportunities.

>See also: Over half of young tech workers across Europe plan to leave sector

Encouraging development

Over half (55 per cent) of businesses have a mentorship programme for younger employees to support their professional and personal development.

However, fewer businesses (47 per cent) have a system in place to identify whether additional support may be needed for graduates and other entry level employees from different backgrounds, and only 26 per cent of businesses offer access to employee resource groups.

Raising awareness around what budding talent can achieve in the tech sector without the need for technical skills (which can be fostered on the job), along with providing mentorship and support where needed, can be key to boosting diversity and inclusion in tech.

“It’s not enough to attract and hire candidates from a broader talent pool. If we are to make any meaningful, long-term change when it comes to diversity in tech, businesses must also have effective strategies in place to retain employees from all backgrounds,” said Becs Roycroft, senior director of global emerging talent at Wiley Edge.

“Until these issues around company culture are adequately addressed, employees are more likely to continue feeling out of place and unhappy, which will ultimately lead to continued poor retention rates and limited progress when it comes to improving diversity. 

“If businesses do find themselves struggling to retain employees from underrepresented backgrounds, they should ensure they are providing them with regular opportunities to offer feedback and constructive criticism. Without input from employees themselves, businesses will find they are continuing to make the same mistakes, and potentially missing some easily actionable improvements.”

Training institution Wiley Edge surveyed 2,000 tech employees aged 18-24, and 200 employers working in the financial services, healthcare, pharmaceutical, insurance, and life sciences industries, for its Diversity in Tech 2022 report.


The shared responsibility of tech to break down diversity barriers — How the tech industry can better represent talent from underrepresented groups.

How industry leaders can improve D&I in a sustainable way — Exploring the need for sustainable hiring practices when boosting diversity and inclusion.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.