London mayor to tackle underrepresentation of black men in tech

Sadiq Khan has launched a new initiative to tackle the underrepresentation of young black men in London’s technology sector.

The move is part of the mayor of London’s Workforce Integration Network programme which is focussed on increasing the number of young Black men in the capital’s key industries.

According to a recent Tech Nation report, young Black men make up just five per cent of London’s 589,730-strong technology workforce.

A study by GLA published in 2020 found that in London black men aged 16-24 are among the most likely to be out of work – with almost one in three unemployed com-pared to just 15 per cent of young white men.

The Mayor’s Design Lab3 aims to create space for businesses to come together, critique existing practices, and explore the causes of underrepresentation in their work-forces and the sector as a whole.

Large businesses are then are supported, as part of a 12-month programme to build an action plan to recruit, retain, and progress more young Black men in their businesses. This action will focus on areas around recruitment, supply chains, workplace culture, data, and progression.

The initiative also includes a programme of workshops, one-to-one sessions, data col-lection, supply chain assessments, introductions to suppliers, and networking and recruitment opportunities delivered by the Equal Group in partnership with City Hall.

At the end of the year-long programme, the businesses involved will have built a be-spoke action plan to address the lack of diversity in their organisations, and ensure that young black Londoners who face additional barriers to employment now have the right opportunities and support to join and thrive in the tech sector.

The eight technology companies selected to take part in the programme are: Dell Technologies, Informa Tech, Cloudreach, Ford Motor Company, Profusion, Cognizant, Panaseer, and Telent Technology Services.

“It’s simply not right that young, talented and ambitious young black Londoners are not being given the opportunity to prosper in the capital’s thriving tech sector,” said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. “The impact of the pandemic has reinforced why the work of the Workforce Integration Network is so important.

“We have already successfully supported 20 large businesses in the construction and infrastructure sectors, representing a combined workforce of over 100,000, to re-move barriers holding young Black Londoners back, and I’m pleased that we are now building on this work with more action.

“I’m determined to ensure no Londoner is left behind as we recover from the pandemic. Someone’s life chances should never be limited by their family’s background or the colour of their skin. This new initiative will give tech and digital businesses better insight into the role they can play to address inequalities, improve diversity and create industry-wide change.”

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