Why diversity and inclusion is essential in tech

March 3, 2022 Liam Bennet

Addressing the talent shortage

Liam Bennett
Cloud Practice Director at Claranet  

Business leaders are worried. Conversations about rising talent shortages are gaining momentum, while the speed of technological advancement is moving faster and faster. Meanwhile, business leaders are trying to navigate incremental changes in employee attitudes towards work, from great resignations to mass hybrid working. As a result, panic is setting in. Leaders are trying to foresee an incredibly uncertain future - one that requires them to keep up with the pace of change, hire the right talent, and most importantly, retain it. In a highly competitive battle for staff, the wrong messages and the wrong decisions could have a drastic impact. 

Many organisations are being held back by their resistance to adapt and change with the times. In recent years, a heavy spotlight has been shone on society’s attitudes towards diversity and inclusion. Subsequently, businesses far and wide have made a stand, to increase the diversity within their workforces. Sadly, in this case, actions speak louder than words, and the facts continue to outweigh the messaging.

Diversity and Inclusion

Last year, the Harvard Business Review shared that in the US, the “unemployment rate for autistic people is as high as 78%” and yet “autistic professionals can be up to 140% more productive than the typical employee when properly matched to jobs”. These are startling figures that highlight widespread discrimination in company hiring processes. Those with neurodiverse skills are evidently being consistently underestimated by employers. 

This is a mere drop in the ocean when it comes to the severity of discrimination across organisations when hiring. Whether it is race, sexuality, age, appearance, and more, companies are continuing to discriminate, even in the face of widespread talent shortages. 

For companies to successfully navigate recruitment fears, they must rethink their recruitment processes, how they benchmark prospective employees, and address the ingrained bias and discrimination within their organisation.

Supporting a more inclusive workplace

Last April, Claranet became a Tech Talent Charter Signatory. The Tech Talent Charter is a non-profit organisation leading a movement to address inequality in the UK and drive diversity and inclusion in a practical and equally measurable way. Inclusion and Diversity is a continuous initiative for us and becoming a signatory helps us achieve our goals to foster an inclusive and diverse culture within our organisation. Other large tech organisations that are part of the Tech Talent Charter Signatory include Accenture, Citrix, BT, and more.

Additionally, Claranet is also one of the first 10 technology partners to be included in Microsoft’s Technology Community Against Racism (TCAR) project. Microsoft’s mission is to re-balance racial representation in the UK tech industry by providing the tools, resources, and support that enables tech companies to eliminate barriers towards positive transformation. To do this, they are looking to build a community of UK tech organisations, of which Claranet are a part of, that commit to learning, sharing, and implementing new ways of fostering an inclusive workplace. 

These are just a couple of the initiatives that Claranet is getting behind in order to encourage better practices in the workplace, that are more inclusive for all.

Bringing young people into work

Another significant change Claranet has made in recent years is our investment in young people. Despite the increase of technology-based roles, less and less young people are choosing subjects and courses to help prepare them for careers in tech. We believe that businesses need to vastly step up; it’s not just on our Government to provide the right opportunities for young people through education, but on businesses putting their faith and trust in the young people entering the world of work. 

The Claranet Graduate Trainee Programme is focused on helping the best talent move from University through to working in public cloud. In its first year, the Claranet Graduate Trainee Programme took on three graduates straight out of University to help create a new Cloud Sales Analyst team. The graduates were thrown into helping to develop new business opportunities, and deal with both new and existing customers. After one year on the programme, our graduates have now all started contracts as Cloud Sales Specialists. 

Additionally, we’ve also just launched an Undergraduate Placement Programme, giving undergraduates in the middle of their course a 360-degree view of what working for a large technology organisation is like. Over 12 months, the students move around each of our teams in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of how our award-winning cloud business at Claranet works. 

This is just the beginning of the ways we are looking to improve diversity and inclusion at work and continuing to hire skilled workers amidst the talent shortage. We believe that it’s not just important for us as an organisation to make these changes, but for the economy-at-large. By bringing more people into work from a range of different backgrounds and with a range of different skill, we are helping to lead the way in helping all organisations to be more inclusive and welcome a world of hungry prospective employees with open arms.

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