It’s Women in Tech week and Ada Lovelace Day, so it’s a great time to tell you: Bluefruit Software has signed up to the Tech Talent Charter. This means we’re making a commitment to be advocates for gender diversity in tech.
We’re happy to be recognised for what we already do to make our workplace as inclusive as possible, especially as in both the UK and the US there are so few women working in the tech sector.
Are the figures really that bad? In the UK, women make up just 17% of tech and IT workers.
In education, girls make up 21.4% of those taking GCSE Computing, but there’s a smaller proportion of women pursuing it at degree level. Only 14.9% of computer science undergraduates are women. And this “leaky pipeline” continues even once women enter the industry, with women leaving at a rate that’s more than twice that of men: 41% v 17%.
At Bluefruit, we’ve seen this issue directly in the lack of female applicants for Software Engineering roles. It is hard to hire women when no women apply for the role. So, we are looking to do all we can to try to encourage and support women in tech, alongside our larger diversity and inclusion practices. While we don’t believe in positive discrimination, we are keen to increase the number of female applicants to our roles.
For us, joining the Tech Talent Charter was one more way to show our dedication to trying to explore and solve this problem.
Supporting women in tech
The Tech Talent Charter expects the following from businesses that sign up:
- support attraction, recruitment and retention practices that are designed to increase the diversity of their workforce;
- define their own timetable for change and implement the strategy that is right for their organisation (acknowledging that all signatories will have different starting points);
- measure the diversity profile of their UK employees and to share this data for (anonymous) collective publication.
How far has Bluefruit got in meeting these commitments? As Caitlin Gould, Director at Bluefruit, explains:
“The great thing is that we were already doing a whole bunch to help ensure we are an inclusive and diverse workplace. From non-biased recruitment practices, to offering flexitime, being a Disability Confident Employer, and having generous maternity and paternity leave. Bluefruit is already an inclusive tech workplace. We just need to make sure we improve on what we’re doing and hold onto that velocity. We’re also always trying new things. This summer we had a recruitment stand at the Women of Silicon Roundabout conference in London and we’re a part of a working group to explore how to encourage more girls to study computing in school.”
Once we get great people, we want to make sure we keep them by providing a great place for everybody to work. Our internal culture and investment in our people enable us to have good retention levels, which is difficult in the tech sector known for high turnover. We’re also actively involved with our local community, through groups like Software Cornwall, so that we can encourage people from all backgrounds and genders towards tech careers.
Why does any of this matter?
Inclusive policies and approaches can help ensure that there are enough people to fill tech vacancies in the UK (Indeed has found that tech jobs account for 60% of jobs that are hard to fill). But there’s more…
There are a host of other commercial benefits when you have a more diverse and inclusive tech business:
- Tech businesses that have more gender diverse teams can see annual returns average 5.4% higher than less diverse businesses.
- Half the world is female (59%), so having a gender diverse team means the ability to develop and market products with a clearer idea of how to appeal to half the world.
- Diverse businesses are able to generate more innovative products and services, increasing their revenues on average by 38%, due to having more varied knowledge and experience to draw upon.
Because it’s the right thing to do
There are wider, real world implications for our society when tech companies don’t have diverse teams. For International Women’s Day this year, we looked at what happens when diversity and inclusion aren’t supported in the workplace. Here are a few ways that society is hurt when there’s a lack of gender diversity in tech:
- When AI is developed by mostly men, AI can be become incredibly biased to the detriment of people who aren’t the same as developers. From being unable to recognise diverse voices, to deciding that people from other groups aren’t recruitment material.
- When women aren’t considered in the design of everyday objects and technology the effects vary. It can mean mobile phones that are too big to hold, or that a woman is 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a car crash.
- Without gender balance in the innovation of new medicine and medical technology, devices that are meant to save lives can end up killing women instead.
And these are just a few examples. We think you can agree with us that none of this is acceptable in today’s world.
Committed to diversity in tech
Bluefruit Software is fully committed to improving gender diversity in the technology sector. And if you’re a business owner and want to make the same commitment, the Tech Talent Charter aim to sign up 600 UK business to their charter by the end of 2020. You don’t have to be a tech business like us, having tech roles within your business qualifies you as well. So, come join the Tech Talent Charter today.