New tech research endorses inclusion and diversity amid COVID-19

Tech Talent Charter research finds just 14% of UK companies say diversity and inclusion will be less important while dealing with coronavirus.

New research by Tech Talent Charter has found that 68% of UK companies plan to keep inclusion and diversity firmly on the agenda as a key priority while they manage the impact of COVID-19.

The research carried out by Attest (on behalf of Tech Talent Charter) asked 500 UK businesses whether the effects of COVID-19 would impact their company’s focus on building an inclusive work environment and a diverse workforce.

What the numbers say

Of all the businesses involved, 14% admitted that inclusion and diversity would be either less or much less of a priority in planning for business growth after the coronavirus outbreak. On the other hand, 68% said that improving the inclusion and diversity of their business was either important or extremely important to them.

While 60% said that the outbreak would not make an impact on their approach, 25% said it would either be a little or much more of a priority with just 11% saying it was not important to them.

New McKinsey report

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

The Tech Talent Charter is a non-profit organisation which works with over 400 leading UK companies to promote and enable inclusive working practices which help to drive diverse tech talent. The business case for diverse workforces is strong, with a recent McKinsey study yet again demonstrating that the top-performing companies are those with the highest gender and racial diversity.

Keeping D&I a priority

The Tech Talent Charter has provided five tips for organisations to promote inclusion and diversity while coping with the coronavirus:

  • Integrate flexible and remote working options: The coronavirus outbreak has shown companies that flexible and remote working is both possible and hugely motivating.
  • Offering meaningful part-time work:  Previously published research suggests that 76%  of women on work breaks would like to return to work, but 54% say time requirements are too high.
  • Change the culture and narrative: The appetite for inclusivity must come from the top but needs to be reflected across the organisation. Great cultures mean you don’t just recruit top talent; you also retain your best staff.
  • Support returners: It’s time-consuming and expensive to find new talent. By supporting those who have been out of the workforce for extended periods to reintegrate, you can get maximum reward for less investment.
  • Consider retraining/career conversion schemes: Many companies find they have great staff internally with broader skills who are keen to retrain into tech. Previously published research found that 45% of women surveyed from across the UK said they were interested in retraining for tech jobs.
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