Businesses must prioritise fostering an inclusive company culture to improve the professional experiences of young tech workers from underrepresented groups, new research has found.
The data, which has been published in Wiley Edge’s second annual ‘Diversity in Tech’ report, revealed that only 24% of UK tech workers aged 18-24 would describe their experience in the industry so far as ‘entirely positive’, and another 26% as ‘mostly positive’.
Around a third (30%) said they have had a mixture of positive and negative experiences, and 11% mostly negative. Worryingly, one in 10 said they have not enjoyed their experience so far at all.
When asked what had made their experience positive, 28% said they have enjoyed the work, and another 28% found the work interesting. Only one in 10 (10%) said they found the work uninteresting, while 13% said it was challenging.
Tom Seymour, Senior Director, HR, at Wiley Edge, commented: “While it’s great that half of the young tech workers have enjoyed their time in the industry so far, it’s concerning that a significant proportion have encountered some challenges.
“Our findings seem to indicate that it’s not the nature of the work itself that is an issue for most unhappy young tech employees. Instead, the research suggests that many businesses are still struggling to establish an inclusive, welcoming environment which is having a negative impact on the wellbeing of their tech teams.”
Only a fifth (20%) of those surveyed said they liked their company’s culture, and another 20% said they felt welcomed by their colleagues.
Women were 22% less likely to say they have felt welcomed by their colleagues than men and 22% less likely to say they like their company’s culture. They were also 45% more likely to say they had not had enough personal support.
White respondents were likelier to say they liked their company’s culture than any other ethnic group (23% vs 20% average). In contrast, Black African respondents were the most likely to say they do not feel welcomed by their colleagues (17% vs 11% average) and to say that they actively do not like their company’s culture (22% vs 11% average).
Tom added: “In our experience, many businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of an effective DE&I strategy. However, this research shows it’s not necessarily a given that these values will filter down to every team. It’s vital to ensure that a business’s culture and values are consistently embodied by those in senior leadership and management positions, with any inappropriate behaviour dealt with quickly and decisively.”