Tag: Diversity

70% of respondents say their organisation should do better in terms of diversity

New research by released by Thoughtworks, a global technology consultancy, has revealed that employees in the tech sector believe that their employers are not doing enough to prioritise gender equality, this despite the clear ethical, social and business benefits for doing so.

Alarmingly, the national survey of 500 employees from UK tech and software companies found just two in five (41%) of organisations in the sector had a plan in place to improve gender equality in the workplace.

In terms of initiatives, only 23% of people in the tech sector said their organisations had a return-to-work programme for working parents and carers, while 27% offered diversity and inclusion training.  Just one in four organisations (25%) offered mentoring for employees.

Overall, three in five respondents believed that their organisation should be doing better in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Around half (51%) said their organisation was behind the industry with 16% believing their company has no plan to address DEI issues at work.

Despite these concerns, the vast majority of employees in the IT sector (87%) agreed there are business benefits from championing DEI issues. Two in five say that it would foster better employee relationships (39%), with the same proportion believing it would increase staff retention (38%). At a time when skills shortage in the UK tech sector is up 191% compared to the same period for 2020[1], the need for initiatives that will positively improve employee engagement and retention is particularly pressing.

Amy Lynch, head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Thoughtworks UK commented: “Our research findings make clear that, from an employee perspective, our sector must do more to foster a true sense of equity and diversity.

“If staff are concerned, as this research suggests, then the messages are not getting through. At Thoughtworks, diversity, equity and inclusion are at the heart of our business.

“We decided to partner with WORK180 and go through their endorsement process as a commitment to our public stance on increasing diversity. WORK180 promotes organisational standards that raise the bar for women in the workplace. The work that WORK180 is doing with Endorsed Employers such as Thoughtworks is already having a positive impact, but it’s not over yet.”

Amy Lynch added: “We won’t stop until all women are able to thrive and feel equally valued at work. WORK180 is a hub for like-minded individuals who want to make that change, and who are also searching for employers like Thoughtworks that want to make a real and lasting difference for all women.”

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Asia is leading the way in gender diversity

In recent months, hiring in the financial services industry has hit record numbers globally, with eight major hubs showing increases of 64% in advertised roles. This makes the financial services sector one of the fastest hiring industries post-pandemic, only surpassed by the technology sector.

These findings were revealed in a new report from recruitment consultancy Robert Walters. The report, ‘Hiring Trends in the World’s Leading Financial Services Cities’  looks at the labour market across London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Paris, Singapore, Frankfurt, and Hong Kong.

London continues to power ahead as home to the most financial services professionals working in any one city (293,700). However, the AsiaPac region has increased in the last 12 months, with Singapore (250,000), Sydney (167,364), and Tokyo (166,000+) being the most notable cities with high levels of financial services talent.

Job Growth in the Past Year by City

  • London: +101%
  • New York: +78%
  • Tokyo: +77%
  • Singapore: +76%

Job Growth by Region

  • Europe: +62%
  • North America: +60%
  • AsiaPac: +61%

In terms of the greatest numbers of advertised job roles, New York (48,595), London (38,945), and Paris (24,165) are in the lead.

AsiaPac, however, shows the best hiring conditions. Professionals in Sydney (81%), Singapore (76%), Hong Kong (67%), and Tokyo (60%) expressed a high willingness to move roles even with this very tight candidate market.

Asia is also leading the way with gender diversity in the financial services sector. For example, Singapore (46%) has almost 50/50 gender diversity; meanwhile, in Hong Kong, women make up 44% of the banking workforce.

New York (36%) and London (36%) lag with gender diversity. However, they have made strides in cultural, racial, and socio-economic diversity. Many firms in these areas have advanced recruitment programmes to ensure their workforce represents the diversity of the city in which they are based.

Senior hires typically represent around 8-10% of all new hires. Most of the hiring is at junior and mid-management levels. However, the figures for senior hires rose dramatically over the last 12-18 months, with 1 in 3 new hires in banking has been at a senior level in some cities.

  • London: 20% of new hires are for senior roles, an increase of 5%
  • New York: Team/Department Heads were the only area to experience growth in the pandemic (+26%)
  • Tokyo: 19% of new hires are at a senior level
  • Sydney: 28% of new hires are for senior positions, an increase of 5%
  • Paris: 63% growth at Manager-level and above
  • Singapore: 31% of new hires are for a senior role

Toby Fowlston, CEO at Robert Walters comments: “The global financial services system is as solid as it was before the pandemic – and much healthier than after the last crisis in 2008 (GFC).

“Whilst the pandemic did not have the expected harmful financial effects on the global banking industry, it has certainly accelerated change in a multitude of other areas. Digital banking boomed whilst cash use fell, savings expanded and credit card debts were paid-off in record time, remote became a way of working, data-capture and usage is a central business function, and environment and sustainability are now front of mind for customers and regulators.”

“All of this change has led to exponential hiring in the sector – with each hub trying to fight for the same talent at the same time, the results being a fiercely competitive recruitment market like we’ve never seen before, with execs being offered over +30-40% pay increases with the option to work from anywhere in the world.”

“As a whole the global financial services sector has made solid strides in gender diversity – with near half of the entry-level workforce in financial services being women.”

“The task now is to equal representation at the top, where in banking less than a quarter of high-level senior positions are held by women. We are seeing some worthy gains been made in this area, and I think the increasing diversity in senior positions will only help to speed up the rapid rate of innovation and change within the sector.”

“Employers will continue to experience challenges in attracting junior analysts and associates as the traditional appeal of working for a large Financial Services organisation now finds itself in a battle with the lure of a career in a start-up or major tech firm.”

“Reputational issues suffered since the GFC and workplace-related perceptions – around hours, flexibility, and culture – will all need to be addressed head on by financial services firms if they want to build out their future talent pipeline.”

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Long journey ahead to embed diversity into the complete employment journey  

According to a recent study, one in three UK workers has felt marginalised or excluded at work conducted.

The survey for the forthcoming book ‘Belonging: The Key to Transforming and Maintaining Diversity, Inclusion and Equality at Work’ indicates that there is still a journey ahead for creating diversity in every area of the business – from recruitment to promotions.

While many workplaces in the UK are diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation, others are not, and any diversity becomes scarcer in upper management and senior leadership.

Statistics show that:

  • White groups are the most likely to be employed at 79.3%,
  • Men have a higher employment rate in every ethnic group.
  • 41% of LGBTQIA+ job seekers would not apply for a job with a company that lacks diversity
  • The employment rate for disabled people sits at 52.7%.
  • Almost one in five FTSE 100 companies don’t have ethnic minority members.
  • Only two FTSE 100 companies have a female CEO.

Even though the UK has taken positive steps to create equality and diversity, there is much work to be done when looking at the overall picture.

Gerald Doran, Head of Recruitment and HRSS at Kura, has shared his tips for embedding diversity into the hiring process.

Create an equality and diversity policy

Diversity to needs to be enshrined in policy to be taken seriously. Laying out the company’s commitment to equality and diversity and how it will achieve them will ensure that it is enacted across all areas of the organisation.

A comprehensive policy should include

  • The purpose of the policy and the commitment to diversity in the workplace.
  • How diversity in the workplace will be increased
  • How discriminatory behaviour will be eliminated.
  • Details of the measures in place to ensure diversity within the business
  • The behaviours expected of all employees
  • A grievances procedure.

Consider a blind hiring process and an interview panel

Seventy-nine percent of HR employees have admitted that unconscious bias exists in recruitment in the UK. British job applicants with black or ethnic minority backgrounds must submit 60% more CVs to receive call-backs from employers,  even if their skill set matches white jobseekers.

A blind hiring process may eliminate this. Candidates can submit their CV and cover letter in a manner that does not provide any demographic information such as gender, heritage, age, and location.

At the interview stage, these personal identifiers may be revealed. In addition, if the interview panel comprises employees from diverse backgrounds and various levels of seniority, bias can also be removed from the interview process and final decision.

Another option is to use sample tasks to help the recruitment panel look at the candidate’s skills rather than the demographics.

Recognise the benefits of diversity in your workplace

To best understand the benefits of having a diverse workforce, look into the benefits that it already offers. For example, women in leadership may be more empathetic. Leaders from different ethnic backgrounds can provide new perspectives for consideration.

Shakti Naidoo, HR Business Partner at Kura South Africa, commented: “At Kura South Africa, we have inductions and monthly sessions where we directly address conscious and unconscious bias.

As well as sessions on addressing conscious and unconscious bias, we created ‘Kura-Queens’, a space for women in the business to meet and discuss any issues around gender inequality in the workplace. Kura-Queens has led to “a team of strong women who support, motivate, and raise each other.”

We have a very equal gender split across all levels of seniority in our business. This gives us a unique, balanced workplace that values differing viewpoints and allows everyone to offer insight based on their personal experiences.

As well as creating equal opportunities for promotions within your organisation, highlighting the achievements of senior leaders from diverse backgrounds is important. They will be role models for other employees as well as prospective employees. We interviewed a number of our women in leadership for International Women’s Day and shared their inspiring words on LinkedIn in order to inspire others.

The UK has made positive steps when it comes to equality and diversity in the workplace but there is still a long way to go. Not only are marginalised groups still underrepresented in the workforce, but they also report feeling isolated and discriminated against. We have faced this challenge head-on at Kura and have a number of initiatives, from our comprehensive equality and diversity policy to Kura-Queens and beyond. Having a truly diverse workplace and recruitment process takes time to enact, but these are great places to start.”

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Internet stats show increasing awareness and demand for change

Recent research about internet search habits has revealed that there has been a consistent increase in diversity and inclusion issues over the last three years. For example, the search for ‘gender pronouns in the workplace’ has risen by 500% between April 2020 and April 2022.

Whether these searches are being conducted by employers trying to be aware of issues or whether it is employees who are trying to find out their rights is unclear.

The data also showed an increase of 58% in searches for ‘unconscious bias at work’ during the same three-year period. There was also a spike in March 2022, which coincided with International Women’s Day. The 2022 theme was based on ‘breaking the bias.’ March was also a big month for diversity and inclusion related with organisations completing their mandatory Gender Pay Gap reports before the Government reporting deadlines.

The data also showed that search results had increased for certain types of discrimination:

  • ‘bullying, harassment, and discrimination at work’ searches grew by 62.5%
  • ‘disability discrimination at work’ searches grew by 51.25%
  • ‘racial discrimination at work’ searches rose by 40.3%
  • ‘age discrimination at work’ searches grew by 30.6%

The same pattern has also been seen in Employee Tribunal Data. According to data from employment law and HR advisory firm, WorkNest, nearly half of the Employment Tribunal Claims received between January 2019 and December 2021 included some form of discrimination, with disability being the protected characteristic most relied upon by Claimants. 

 During the same period, they also saw increases in the following types of claims:

  • Disability-related discrimination claims (17.9%)
  • Sex-related discrimination claims (52%)
  • Race-related discrimination claims (27.3%)

There was also a large spike of racial discrimination claims during 2020, a 42.9% increase, compared to 2019.

Darren Hockley, Managing Director at DeltaNet International, commented: “The data reveals that discriminatory issues continue to rise in the workplace; business leaders and HR teams are responsible for tackling these issues to provide a safe and welcoming working environment for all employees to thrive in,”

“We believe that diversity and inclusion must be at the core of an organisation; we want to help employees and employers evolve from a compliance-based model to embracing true cultural change.”

Evidently, issues of diversity and inclusion are not a “passing storm to be weathered.”

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“Trinnovo Group is purpose-led with a mission to build diversity, create inclusion, and encourage workplace innovation.” – Richard MacMillan, Chairperson, Trinnovo Group

In April, Trinnovo Group made two announcements: the appointment of Richard MacMillan to the Board of Directors as Chairperson as well as the launch of its fourth brand Equiris Consulting.

NEW CHAIRPERSON
Richard has a 25-year history in the staffing industry was CEO of health and life science staffing and services company called Independent Clinical Services (ICS) for 14 years. He led the growth and diversification of ICS through three periods of Private Equity ownership until it sold in September 2020. During his tenure, ICS completed multiple acquisitions, expanded its international presence, and developed several innovative healthcare services.

Richard commented: “Trinnovo Group is an exciting and dynamic business led by exceptionally talented people and I am delighted to join as Chairperson. Trinnovo Group is purpose-led with a mission to build diversity, create inclusion, and encourage workplace innovation. They have a unique and exciting approach to the full talent cycle. The business is flourishing, and I look forward to working with the team as they continue to diversify the business and grow internationally.”

James Cox, Trinnovo Group CEO also commented: “I am delighted to have Richard join us as Chairperson. Richard’s track record in international growth driven by an entrepreneurial and technology focused approach is second to none. The Board and I are hugely excited to work with Richard and to continue disrupting the recruitment sector via our people and delivering our vision, to be the fastest organically growing and most impactful recruitment business on the planet. Ashley Lawrence continues to support the group working with the Trinnovo Board in his new role as Founder.”

NEW BRAND
The announcement of the new brand, Equiris Consulting will enable high-growth businesses to attract, retain and develop amazing people and high-performing teams that are representative of society by ensuring that the world of work is a more inclusive and equitable place for everyone.

Equiris is a talent consultancy and solutions provider with a diversity, equity, and inclusion methodology that is focused on the full talent lifecycle including attraction, assessment, onboarding, learning and development and retention.

TIARA Recruitment Award winners 2021, Trinnovo understands that every business is unique, and focus on building strong relationships that enable them to truly understand their clients’ business strategies. This focus enables them to embed bespoke talent solutions into clients’ businesses that help them achieve sustainable growth while ensuring that diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of their strategic agenda. It works closely with its sister brands, specialist recruitment companies Trust in Soda, Broadgate and BioTalent, to offer a full wrap-around DEI focused talent solution.

Cara Myers, Talent Advisory Director at Equiris Consulting commented: “I am so incredibly excited to be launching Equiris Consulting. Across our social enterprise and unique platforms, we have inspired a lot of change within the workplace and worked hard to make it a place that is more inclusive for everyone. We recognised, however, that we have an opportunity to do more, and to not only inspire change but to also work with our clients and partners to offer very targeted DEI focused talent solutions that enable high-growth companies to scale in a way that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.”

James Cox, Trinnovo Group CEO also commented: “The Board and I are hugely excited to launch Equiris Consulting. We created Equiris Consulting because we want to provide solutions that enable high-growth, tech-enabled businesses to grow in diverse and sustainable way. We are on a mission to build diversity, create inclusion, and encourage workplace innovation, and we are excited to see the impact that will be delivered through our new talent consultancy and solutions provider.”

 

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Prison leavers receive mentoring to create and market clothing range

A new project, established by social enterprise Inside Out, has been launched to rehabilitate young ex-offenders by helping them create and market a clothing brand. The hand-produced clothing range is currently being sold in a pop-up store in London.

New data from Cebr, commissioned by LinkedIn, estimates that only 2 in 10 prison leavers can find work in the first year after their release. According to the data based on prison leavers in 2020, the unemployment rate for ex-offenders is 89% six weeks after their release and only improves to 44% a year after their release.

The initiative, supported by LinkedIn, provided training and mentoring to a group of ex-offenders. The prison leavers were aged between 18 and 27 years and struggling to find work, and the project was designed to build skills to help them find permanent employment.

The programme taught the young people technical skills, such as screen printing and design, business skills, like sales and marketing, as well as soft skills – including teamwork and problem-solving. Additionally, they were assisted in building professional profiles on LinkedIn and taught best practices on networking and applying for roles.

The clothing range is a collection of branded hoodies, hats, T-shirts, facemasks, and bags and is available for purchase at ‘Blank Canvas’, a pop-up store in Westfield Stratford, London, between the 19th and 28th April.

Tashan Lane-Pierre, Project Ambassador, Inside Out Project, said: “I started my own clothing line in 2017 before I went to prison. Now that I’m out, I want to learn the business of fashion, how it’s produced behind the scenes in the hope that I’ll be able to run my own label one day. The skills I’m learning through this project will help me in business and I’m excited to be a part of it. I just want the opportunity to be treated normally and not judged for my past actions.” 

Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said: “This group is full of ideas and it’s been amazing to see their drive to go on and make a positive impact in the world. Ex-offenders have a lot to offer potential employers and I really hope the skills they’ve learned and the networks they are building through this programme will help them find a fresh start and a new role.”

Inside Out Project Founder Greg McKenzie, said: “Unemployment rates for former prisoners are much higher than among the wider population, even ten years after release. But there is a positive correlation between employment and reduced reoffending, which shows the need for proactive policies to ensure more prison leavers are able to access job opportunities and the tools and training they need to succeed. This is what Inside Out is all about.”

The hope is that projects such as Inside Out will help prison-leavers with their unemployment challenges and reduce reoffending.

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Inclusive working policies potentially adds £40 billion to GDP  

According to a new study by LinkedIn, greater workplace flexibility could help open up new employment opportunities for 1.3 million people in the UK with disabilities, caring responsibilities, and those based in rural locations. For those who may struggle to commute or work regular hours, the opportunity to work from home or work flexible hours has the potential to improve workforce inclusion while adding a potential £40 billion to GDP.

The research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) was commissioned by LinkedIn in a bid to understand the potential for hybrid working to improve workforce inclusion. The research highlighted an “Inclusion Gap”, which revealed that employers are currently missing out on hiring people who would be able to work if working conditions were adapted to meet their needs.

Research from LinkedIn has found that for the majority (86%) of employers in the UK the pandemic has triggered a rethink of flexible and remote working, meaning that there is a real opportunity for businesses to design new policies with inclusivity at the core to make work equitable for all.

TRANSFORMING ACCESS TO THE WORKPLACE 
According to the study, flexible working could potentially unlock employment opportunities for around 600,000 people living with disabilities. This means that there is potential to add £20.7bn to the UK economy. Furthermore the next largest dividend of £10.6bn would be gained from employees from households with dependent children (around 284,000 people), followed by adult informal carers (around 306,000 people) and those based in rural locations (around 104,000 people), potentially adding £6bn and £2.9bn to the UK economy respectively.

Janine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said: “The pandemic has instigated the greatest workplace change in a generation, prompting businesses of all types and sizes to re-evaluate how they operate.”

Nina Skero, Chief Executive at CEBR, said: “Our analysis highlights the enormous potential hybrid working arrangements hold for inclusivity in the UK labour market. The hybrid office model will, by no means, remove all the structural barriers faced by the highlighted demographic groups. Nonetheless, it does provide optimism for a more inclusive workforce. Realising this potential comes with its own challenges, however, and the onus falls on businesses to take initiative to ensure that inclusivity forms a key part of their agenda.”

LinkedIn Changemaker and disability inclusion consultant, Martyn Sibley, said: “Disabled people face many barriers in daily life. Workplace barriers are the most disabling for two reasons – because work provides us with financial independence and is also fulfilling mentally. Flexible working can help remove some of these barriers and create new employment opportunities, which is extremely positive for disabled people, employers and society as a whole. As companies consider what the future of work looks like, I’m hopeful that they will use this moment to redesign work to make it more inclusive for all.”

Steve Ingham, CEO at PageGroup, said: “Disabled individuals, which represent nearly 18% of the UK workforce, are more than capable of fulfilling many of the same jobs as able-bodied workers, yet, too often, inflexible workplace policies are a roadblock to accessing roles. The widespread move to working from home helped overcome access barriers in many cases, but companies must now challenge their hiring managers and leaders to explore options for truly flexible working. I’m proud to say that PageGroup has a dedicated team to help bridge the gap between businesses, disability charities and disabled candidates, helping to create more inclusive workplaces. We look forward to continuing to find great placements for people of all abilities – a lack of flexibility must not prevent UK businesses from employing the talent they need.”

James Taylor, Head of Strategy, Impact and Social Change, at disability equality charity, Scope, said: “For many disabled people, flexible home working is something they have been requesting for years with varying degrees of success depending on the employer. Inclusive policies such as flexible and remote working are hugely beneficial for many disabled employees, by allowing people to work in the most effective way for them and contribute their talent, skills and insight. It’s proved to be good for many employers as well, because businesses that are flexible thrive. We have seen the positive results and urge all employers to embrace this sea change and adopt flexible working practices to support more disabled people into work.”

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Employers told to voluntarily report ethnicity pay  

Ever since the Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations were introduced in 2017 the industry has been discussing whether the UK Government would introduce mandatory ethnicity pay reporting requirements for UK employers. Over the years, there have been several calls to action and lobbies for the Government to do so but pleas have fallen on deaf ears as last week, the Government confirmed that “at this stage” it will not be introducing a mandatory requirement for UK employers to report on their ethnicity pay – much to the dismay of many industry bodies, regulators and employers.  

Considering the sharp focus on DE&I post COVID-19, this decision is somewhat disappointing as Laurie Ollivent, Senior Associate, Employment & Incentives and the Diversity Faculty at Linklaters commented: “Whilst the Government hasn’t ruled out introducing mandatory ethnicity pay reporting in the future, it is clear that we should not expect it as a legal requirement in the UK anytime soon. But what the Government has said is that for those employers who choose to voluntarily report on their ethnicity pay gap, they are supportive of the recommendation that employers should publish accompanying action plans and a diagnosis which explains any pay gap and addresses any disparities, and once employers are equipped with a trustworthy, consistent standard for reporting, they should take meaningful action to identify and tackle any causes of disparate pay. In other words – employers need to focus on their narratives. Whilst we accept there are challenges to ethnicity pay reporting beyond those employers face with gender pay reporting which means that the data alone will only ever be a blunt tool to identify potential disparities, the expectation of a narrative without further guidance on what this should look like and the requirement for employers to tackle any causes of disparate pay and report on progress may be off-putting for some businesses considering whether to voluntarily report on their data at this stage and risks halting progress on voluntary reporting rather than encouraging it.  

Simon Kerr-Davis, Counsel, Employment & Incentives and the Diversity Faculty at Linklaters also made comment: “The Women and Equalities Committee report from early 2022 highlighted the increase in employers choosing to voluntarily report on their ethnicity pay gaps. The report states that in 2021, 19% of UK employers voluntarily reported on ethnicity pay – up from 11% in 2018. Whilst this sounds promising and is a large increase, many believe that mandatory reporting obligations are needed – much in the same way as gender pay reporting obligations – for other businesses to follow suit and really drive and achieve change across UK business. 

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19% of women have left a job because of the inability to balance work and caring duties

According to wide-ranging research by Ipsos and Business in the Community (BITC), nearly six out of ten women (58%) say caring responsibilities have stopped them applying for promotion or a new job, and one in five (19%) have left a job because it was too hard to balance work and care.

Whilst 35% of all adults, and 44% per cent of working adults, have caring responsibilities, this research found that they are not spread equally across genders with women accounting for 85% of sole carers for children and 65% of sole carers for older adults. More people from ethnic minority backgrounds (42%) have caring responsibilities than from white backgrounds.

The research was conducted across a sample of 5,444 people in the UK in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of the contemporary attitudes and experiences around combining paid work and care. Although 94% agreed that caring responsibilities should be spread equally, 52% of women who were joint carers say they do more than their fair share with a mere 30% of men admitting they do less.

Only 27% of people believe men and women are treated equally in the workplace with one in five men (20%) saying that caring duties had stopped them from applying for a promotion or a new job, compared to the much higher percentage for women.

The impact of caring responsibilities on workplace progression is greatest on women, who, according to the study, are twice as likely than men to work part-time, and are lower-paid workers and shift workers.

People from black, asian, mixed race or other ethnically diverse groups are disproportionately affected, with the researching revealing that one in two (50%) who have caring responsibilities saying they had been unable to pursue certain jobs or promotions because of this. One in three (32%) have left or considered leaving a job due to a lack of flexibility, compared with around one in five (21%) white people.

Is there a care divide?

According to the research, women make up over half of the lone carers for all groups, including 85% of lone carers for children, 54% of lone carers for working age adults, and 65% of lone carers for older adults. People who care for older adults (68%) are less likely to feel supported than those with childcare responsibilities (78%) or caring for working age adults (77%).

Eight percent of carers identify themselves as ‘sandwich carers’, looking after both children and older adults at the same time with almost half (46%) of current workers having had childcare responsibilities come up ‘during the working day’. Over 50% of women, compared to 42% of men, say their day job has been interrupted because of this. More than one in three women (37%) said other caring responsibilities come up, compared to 31% of men.

Charlotte Woodworth, Gender Equality Campaign Director at BITC, commented: “Employers and policy makers need to understand that caring, for children and others, is a routine part of many people’s lives, and adjust working cultures to better support this. Otherwise, we will continue to see working carers, particularly women and people from black, asian, mixed race and other ethnically diverse backgrounds, pushed down and in some cases out of the workforce.

“Flexibility is key, thinking not just about where work is done, but also when. We need to move past old fashioned ideas about five days a week, 9 – 5, in one location and support everyone to craft a better work life balance, that doesn’t see some people penalised because they can’t work in a certain way.

“But helping women do it all will only get us so far – we must also ensure men are given the opportunity to care. We need to overhaul out-of-date policies that presume only women want to take time out to look after the kids. The government should support employers to offer stand-alone, subsidised paternity leave, in keeping with most people’s beliefs that people of all genders should be supported to care”.

Kelly Beaver, Chief Executive of Ipsos UK, also commented: “A record number of women are in paid work in the UK, and they make up nearly 50% of the workforce, but our research shows that many feel they are held back in their careers by caring responsibilities which are not shared evenly. The majority of those we surveyed believe that more of this responsibility should be shared equally, irrespective of gender, and that employers have a key role in making flexibility at work the rule not the exception.

This research is invaluable in helping employers and policy makers to respond to the increasing demand for a more flexible approach to working and I am proud that at Ipsos we are leading the way, for example all our UK employees are offered equal paid maternity and paternity leave, because we firmly believe that the responsibility of raising a child should not be determined by your gender.”

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But how diverse is the tech industry?  

According to data released by UCAS, IT courses at UK universities have seen a record number of women applicants, a freedom of information request has revealed.   

The UCAS-sourced data and collated by IT security solutions providers Cheeky Munkey was sought to identify the increasing diversity of demographics entering the UK tech industry, taking into account the specific courses being applied for, as well as the age and gender of the applicants. 

During the last 10 years the number of female applicants to IT courses has increased by 82%.  

Also, since 2019, there has been an increase of 10% in women applying to computer science roles while applications by men to the same courses rose by 52% in the UK. Since 2019 the increase in male applications stands at a mere 2%.  

The news comes as figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the tech industry was the third-fastest growing sector for job growth in the UK between July and September 2021, with women representing 71% of professionals placed during this period. 

Diversity in the tech industry: how much more needs to be done?  

Overall, the UK is seeing a growing surge in applicants studying to enter the tech industry — a 57% increase compared to a decade ago. With the pandemic highlighting the importance of digital transformations, it’s crucial that the UK is able to produce graduate tech talent to serve the growing need – especially in light of skills shortages.  

Analysing the most recent data, courses in AI have the highest number of women applying, although the data shows that the figure is only just over one in five (21%). Software engineering courses have seen the largest increase in the share of women applying – just 8% of applicants were women in 2010, this rose to 14% in 2020, a 66% increase. 

While great strides have been made to increase the number of women in tech, there is still work to be done to encourage women to join the sector. The data has revealed that computer science courses attracted 24,020 women applicants in 2021, compared to 117,295 male applicants. This equates to just 17% being female applicants, although it is higher than the 13% figure in 2013 – the lowest point in the last decade. 

Graham Lane, Director of Cheeky Munkey, commented: “Demand for IT professionals is as strong as ever, especially with disciplines like artificial intelligence set to grow rapidly in the coming years. Failure to meet demand, by shutting certain groups out, and the UK could be left behind in an industry that’s crucial to the economy. 

“Graduates provide fresh thinking and come to businesses equipped with the latest in IT theory. The more graduates – whether they’re men or women – entering the industry, the better the pool of talent available.” 

Danielle Keegan, Head of Permanent Recruitment at VIQU commented: “Universities are now very aware of the lack of women in technology and are actively putting initiatives in place to attract women to study tech-focused courses. [According to] a PwC UK research report titled ‘Women in Tech – Time to Close the Gender Gap’, 78% of students could not name a famous female working in tech. I believe companies need to be actively working with schools and universities in order to highlight the achievements and work of women in tech.  

Amit Kapoor, Director of Mindful Contract, a recruitment consultancy that focuses on interim resourcing for major digital transformation programmes, also made comment: “Many employers aren’t comfortable acknowledging, let alone declaring, that they have a representation problem. Language in a job description needs to be tempered to give assurance that the workload is manageable without requiring lifestyle sacrifices. 

“We recently launched a campaign for a banking client that had identified women as an underrepresented category. We stated this position as-is on our job advertisement, explicitly encouraging application from women. This yielded a higher-than-usual rate of applications from women.” 

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