UK tech sector has “worrying” lack of diversity

New figures have shown women and ethnic minorities to be underrepresented in the tech sector.

Inclusive Boards have found a “worrying” lack of diversity in the UK’s tech industry, particularly at senior levels.

The report has shown people from a minority background makeup just 8.5% of senior roles in technology.

Women account for 12.6% of board members. In the FTSE 100 firms, women now account for 30% of board members.

Samuel Kasumu, who is the director of Inclusive Boards, said: “The figures are particularly worrying when you consider how important the tech sector is.”

“It contributed close to £200 billion to the economy in the last year and its growth rate is 2.5 times faster than the whole economy.”

“Every other sector is reliant on technology: you have edtech, fintech, govtech, and healthtech. Our future, every single aspect of our lives, is increasingly becoming reliant on technology.”

“So it’s very, very dangerous and alarming to see that particular groups are not being able to fully participate in the sector, and in a sense are being left behind,” he added.

The report has considered information from the 500 largest tech firms in the UK, collecting from 1,882 executives and a further 1,696 board members.

The House of Commons will launch an Inclusive Tech Alliance (ITA) on Wednesday with representatives from Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and LinkedIn, which is a new official body to combat the lack of diversity in the tech industry.

“When you look at the typical board member … it is less likely that they would be somebody from a developer background. We all know the story of Mark Zuckerberg, but that’s not necessarily a traditional story. It is usually somebody with a different type of expertise, who has a value that doesn’t require them to be a coder,” Kasumu said.

“On a board you can have a finance director, an HR specialist, a legal and compliance specialist, and somebody who’s really well connected and involved in communications.”

“At board level, variety is the key strength point. So there’s no real reason why the tech sector should be so disproportionately worse than other sectors at board and senior leadership level.”

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Safiya Bashir
Safiya focuses on business and political stories for UK Investor Magazine. Her interests include international development, travel and politics.