Diversity and inclusion progress in UK data industry stalls
According to a new report from Harnham, the Data and Analytics recruitment firm, working mothers are suffering from growing pay gaps and that diversity is severely lacking within more senior positions.
Harnham’s annual State of Diversity in Data and Analytics report involving 9,500 respondents takes a deep dive into the state of play of Diversity and Inclusion across the data industry, focusing on gender, ethnicity, race, disability, and age. It revealed a mixed landscape, with pockets of both progress and stagnation. There has been little change in diversity within the data industry over the last 12 months despite employers frequently naming this as a priority.
Harnham recognises that there are initiatives being taken by employers to actively improve diversity, but the report drives home the need for the industry to continue to put its money where its mouth is, if it hopes to remain trailblazing and innovative.
Key findings include:
White/Caucasian professionals make up a smaller percentage of the Data & Analytics industry (75%) than they do of the UK population as a whole (86% nationally) making the data industry across the board one of the more ethnically diverse prominent industries in the UK
But just because there are fewer white professionals than the national average, not all other ethnicities are seeing increased representation.
While Asian/Asian British professionals account for 15% of the industry (vs 7.8% in the 2011 census), Black/African/Caribbean/Black British professionals only account for 3% of the industry (vs 3.5% in the 2011 census).
Ethnicity pay gap
In previous guides, the gender pay gap has exceeded the ethnicity pay gap, often by some distance. This year, however, this is no longer the case, as it now sits at 8% (vs 6% with gender), a pay gap up over 50% from last year.
The highest-paid individual group in the Data & Analytics industry are White/Caucasian men, who earn an average of £69,260 per year, whilst the lowest paid group, are women from a Black/African/Caribbean/Black British background, who earn an average of £53,850; a pay gap of 22%.
As in 2021, 28% of Data & Analytics professionals across the entire industry are women. While this does not signal significant improvement, it does imply that last year’s fall in numbers was not the beginning of an ongoing downward trend.
However, the gender balance in professionals who are in their first role in data, moves significantly closer to parity, increasing to 40%, up from 28% across the entire industry.
Nevertheless, there are certain sectors – Data & Technology, Data Science and Digital Analytics – which report fewer female professionals than last year. Most prominently, Digital Analytics reported a drop from 37% female, to 32%.
Gender pay gap
The gender pay gap across professionals in Data & Analytics is 6%. This is not only an improvement on last year’s figure, but also falling below the UK average of 9.8% – a broadly positive sign.
However, there are areas where pay inequality is more prominent, such as for parents. Male professionals with parental responsibilities earn £76,700 on average, whereas female professionals in the same position take home significantly less – an average of £65,580; a pay gap of 14%.
These figures are tempered by the fact that all specialisms we surveyed reported a gap smaller than the UK average, ranging from 9% in Data & Technology to -1% (as in the gap favoured women) in Marketing & Insight.
Despite rising awareness around the importance of equality in leadership, there is a significant trend of diversity decreasing as seniority rises.
Representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic professionals falls from 42% at Entry-level to just 16% at Head of/Director level.
Whilst less extreme within gender, with women accounting for 35% of Entry-level professionals and 26% of Head of/Directors across the industry, with nearly 40% of UK FTSE 100 board positions being held by women*, the Data & Analytics industry appears to be falling behind.
There are several potential reasons for this but taking an extended career break (of over three months) for childcare may have an impact.
While 21% of women working in Data & Analytics had taken an extended break for this reason, the same was true for only 3% of male professionals.
David Farmer, CEO of Harnham, said: “Although we should be positive about the progress the industry has made, clearly, this is not the time to hang up our boots.
“It is vital to us that we continue to monitor the industry’s progress and do not shy away from revealing where gaps exist. There is no benefit in burying our heads in the sand, we must instead continue striving forwards.
“I am particularly proud that this year’s guide features a foreword from Sadiqah Musa, founder of one of Harnham’s diversity partners, Black in Data.
“Sadiqah has a wealth of experience in the data industry and her insights as a leader of an organisation looking to drive positive change in the industry are invaluable.
“We know that change takes time, but I firmly believe that if businesses and, crucially, educational institutions keep pushing for better diversity, we will see significant change over the next five to ten years.”