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London's tech industry could use some diversifying

Just under half (46 per cent) of technology companies in London don’t believe that a diverse workforce can help them grow, according to a new report by Tech London Advocates. The independent network of tech experts, leaders and innovators claims that the tech industry is doing a poor job combating the diversity crisis. Yet, it is understood that the tech industry does not represent wider diversity currently seen in the UK’s capital.  Gender also seems to be the problem – out of 40,000 London-based companies, 1,000 (2.5 per cent) employ only males.  

“A lack of diversity in tech is the unfortunate secret at the heart of London’s fastest growing industry,” says Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates.  “Entrepreneurs, founders and CEOs have a responsibility to unlock growth, creativity and innovation by encouraging diversity and letting employees feel comfortable in their place of work. There is an economic argument for diverse workforces and a moral obligation – we cannot be proud of an industry that excludes, rather than celebrates, difference.”

London’s reputation, for being an international capital, has been questioned following the Brexit vote. However, the survey suggests that more than a third of tech organisations in London employ a majority of their staff from outside the capital.  

“We need face up the fact that we have a serious issue with diversity in the technology industry,” says Maggie Philbin, CEO Teen Tech.  

“Social background, gender, disability continues to trip up talent. Only by engendering the pioneering spirit that has helped the London technology industry get to where it is today and going beyond report writing to making changes can we hope to make a difference. By opening the right doors to help young people and the industry understand both the opportunities and the potential can we equip everyone to become a part of the tech revolution, not just the fortunate few.” 

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