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Three in five tech firms have no gender equality plan

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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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