The UK’s Tech Talent Charter has this month celebrated a milestone achievement of 200 signatories in an ongoing aim to transform the current state of diversity in tech.
The TTC, which was launched in 2016, aims to dissolve the gender and diversity imbalance in tech while helping employers to make positive changes to their recruitment policies.
Signatories include a range of big organisations in the tech industry, including Microsoft, Salesforce, and Nominet, plus the UK government as of February 2018.
As part of the initiative, the TTC committed to hosting series of regional events aimed at both big and small-sized businesses across the UK. The first event, sponsored by Nominet, was held in Oxford in April with a strong focus on discussing the difficulties in recruiting women to tech roles.
In an interview Eleanor Bradley, COO at Nominet, told Techworld: “I think the TTC for us is a statement to commitment. I think we all know there’s an issue with diversity in terms of recruitment in the tech sector and what’s appealing about the TTC is it’s about committing to do something differently, rather than just talk about it.”
Founded in 1996, Nominet is a 'profit-with-a-purpose' company providing the official registry for UK domains.
“For us we are a medium size business predominantly outside of London and we do have challenges recruiting. Sometimes I think that’s because you need to be more demanding of recruitment consultants, and they need to be made to think creatively about the shortlist they present to make sure they know to shortlist in terms of diversity in the first place,” Bradley said.
“In other areas, I think it’s just that actually there aren’t enough women in that particular sector and we need to start earlier and think harder about how we get more talent coming through the pipeline and start to think ahead.
“Certainly, I think there are things that can be achieved in the short term, but also this is a longer-term achievement that we’ve got to start to really attract more women into tech,” she added.
Call for action
Many companies are affected by the UK’s digital skills gap, and the challenges around recruiting from a more diverse pool of candidates only add to the issue.
The aim of TTC events is to deliver the message that the UK government needs to try and solve this problem, and provide organisations with an opportunity to share best practice, according to Bradley.
“In terms of what you actually do to address that, I think it’s really important to think about how you picture adverts, where you advertise and how you think creatively about the different places you can look for talent. There’s a range of different things you can do and we think we are quite focused as well on how to make sure we’ve got the right models in the organisation.
“When looking more broadly beyond just the gender, I think it’s all the classic things like dealing with unconscious bias and making sure that job descriptions and adverts are not in any way going to lead you down a particular path, and take you to a particular type of recruit. It’s about being open to what different people can bring,” she said.
At Nominet, it was a core focus of the company to look into its recruitment strategy and identify ways to make the hiring process as efficient as possible. This included paying close attention to detail and recruiting for aptitude, whereby the people that can do the job and add value to the organisation are selected.
“What’s interesting about the TTC is that they’ve got a lot of recruitment consultants engaged in that. At the end of the day a recruitment consultant wants to place a candidate because that’s their business model, so the better and stronger the pool of candidates they can provide to a business the better,” she said.
Many organisations have either tried different approaches to make the workplace more diverse and struggled or rather may not know where to start, so having initiatives which lead them to the right direction is a key starting point.
An event like that held by TTC provides great support to businesses looking to grow networks and share practice, especially for smaller companies that search for ways to make an impact.
“We are absolutely committed to this; this is good business for us. We are a growing organisation and we need the talent to help us grow so this is the right thing to do, but also a good business decision too,” added Bradley.