Report reveals ‘significant lack’ of women in tech

Written by Peter Walker

A new report has revealed a “significant lack” of women across the technology sector, while Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) leaders are underrepresented compared to the wider population.

Inclusive Boards analysed the gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic profiles of boards of directors and executives in the 500 top tech firms ranked by reported annual turnover, including 1,882 senior executives and 1,696 board members.

The agency found that women make up just 12.6 per cent of board members and 16.6 per cent of senior executives in the top tech firms – equivalent to 14.6 per cent female representation across all senior levels in tech.

Almost two-thirds of boards in the top tech firms had no female directors, while over two-fifths of executive teams in the top tech firms had no female representation.

Meanwhile, just 8.5 per cent of senior leaders in the sector were from a BAME background.
More than a third of board members and over a quarter of senior executives in the top tech firms attended Oxford or Cambridge (Oxbridge) universities, compared to just one per cent of the population.

A separate report on gender in FTSE 350 boardrooms, published earlier this week as part of the government-commissioned Hampton-Alexander Review, found that five firms had no women directors and a quarter had only one woman in the boardroom.

The review’s chairman Sir Philip Hampton described those businesses as “clearly out of touch” and suggested a consumer boycott of businesses that failed to promote women to top jobs.

In response to the Inclusive Boards report, leaders representing over 100 tech firms will gather in the House of Commons for the launch of The Inclusive Tech Alliance, a membership body dedicated to increasing diversity in the UK tech sector.

“The available body of research confirms that the tech sector faces similar challenges to those of other sectors of the economy,” noted the research. “Nonetheless, the staggering discrepancy between men and women and the scant number of individuals from non-white backgrounds mean that efforts to achieve gender parity as well as societal representativeness must intensify.”

The report suggested that to tackle gender inequality and improve ethnic diversity, organisations at all levels of the sector should make use of their resources and creativity to build inclusive environments.

“With the tech sector expanding at rapid pace and contributing to the economy more than other sectors, it is imperative that it begins to mirror the people whom it serves,” it concluded.