UK government to sign Tech Talent Charter to boost gender diversity

Whitehall street sign outside the Cabinet Office

The UK government has committed to signing a Tech Talent Charter in a bid to boost gender diversity within tech roles in the country.

Digital and culture secretary Matt Hancock announced the news today, revealing that the whole of government will sign up to the charter, which now has more than 125 signatories including Dell, Sage and Cisco.

Tech Talent Charter aims to put the UK at the forefront of tackling the gender imbalance in the tech workforce, and brings the public, private and charitable sectors together to share ideas and experience. It also commits signatories to publishing diversity reports and implementing inclusive hiring practices.

Hancock claimed the government will do this by "including women on interview shortlists wherever possible" and collecting and submitting anonymised data for an annual diversity report.

"It is essential the public sector leads the way in driving this change and today I can announce every government department will be signing the charter," he added. "Cracking the challenge is in part about changing the education system but it's also about changing the culture and opening up."

Margot James, the minister for digital, will also write to major tech firms asking them to sign up. "This will help galvanise support for the charter so everyone has the opportunity to fill the fantastic jobs available," Hancock said.

The Tech Talent Charter was first launched over two years ago and is backed by a board of directors and a steering committee made up of representatives from the various businesses and organisations that have pledged to uphold its values and principles.

Hancock first hinted about signing the charter las year, using the analogy: "You can't catch all the fish if you only fish in half the pool", meaning if Britain's tech industry is to prosper, it should be using the talents of the whole nation.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was the first government department to sign the charter, and now other government departments are set to follow suit.