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Report: Brexit and COVID to blame for lack of diversity in tech

One in two surveyed respondents cited the two events as key factors in the failure to improve diversity in leadership roles

Diversity efforts across the UK’s tech industry were significantly derailed by the fallout of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research by Tech London Advocates (TLA).

Almost one in two (45%) of surveyed members of TLA and Global Tech Advocates cited the two events as key reasons why efforts have failed to improve representation within the tech sector, particularly within management.

The report found three quarters of London’s tech companies have almost no Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) representation on their senior leadership teams.

Gender representation also remains scarce, with nearly two thirds (62%) of respondents indicating that women in senior leadership teams remain in a minority.

The findings come only weeks after the Tech Talent Charter revealed that the number of women in UK-based technology roles increased only by 2% year-on-year, from 25% in 2020 to 27% in 2021.

It's feared that a lack of representation could cost the UK tech sector its world-leading position, according to one in two (51%) industry leaders surveyed by TLA.

According to founder Russ Shaw CBE, “the tech sector is still sorely lacking in diversity & inclusion, and that is simply wrong”.

“The data shows that after many years, the UK tech sector is still struggling to shift the needle when it comes to making this flourishing industry inclusive to all,” he said.

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Shaw warned that tech leaders need to be more proactive on the issues of diversity and inclusion, adding that meaningful action is needed urgently:

“There is no time to waste here - the industry must take action before it is too late and the benefits which D&I can bring to the UK tech sector slip away. Fundamentally, technology should be inclusive and open to everyone. If we seize the opportunity now with practical steps and effective strategies, we can set the foundations for a future-facing sector that can keep growing and maturing, strengthened by the diversity of the talent which supports it,” he said.

The report findings come hours prior to TLA’s Tech for D&Iversity event that will feature addresses from DCMS secretary of state Nadine Dorries and London mayor Sadiq Khan.

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