While the proportion of individuals from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds is higher in tech than in any other industry, there is still a way to go. Digital transformation and technology are best realised through innovation, problem-solving and critical thinking. The more diverse your teams are, the greater their ability to bring forward new ideas and fresh perspectives. How can we change our leadership in technology so that historically underrepresented groups such as ethnic minorities see this sector as a career path and equally that the doors are open for them?
This challenge can feel like a little chicken and egg, if there is little representation currently, then why would individuals from ethnic minorities feel that this technology is a valid career path? There are in fact some notable BAME role models in technology in the UK.
- June Angelides, Founder and CEO of mums in technology
- Raj Kalia, Co-founder of YouCloudIt
- Khalia D. Newel, Vice President of Barclays
- Andrew Manu, Director, Field and Product Marketing EMA from LinkedIn
- Kayisha Payne founder BBSTEM
- Shilpa Shah, Director – Deloitte Technology Consulting
Source: Diversity in Tech
The power of seeing individuals from the BAME community occupy high-level positions is one way to empower individuals from ethnic minorities to go after leadership roles in tech but, change starts much earlier than that. We must consider that the experience of certain ethnicities is not the same as others coupled with the influence of socioeconomic backgrounds. There can be a whole raft of reasons young people may not be presented with opportunities or believe that careers in tech are a viable pathway for them.
Change in education
Educators and institutes such as schools and colleges have a role to play in shifting systemic bias and shaping student aspirations. We must understand what kind of cultural and social bias leads students to show interest in specific career paths. Where does this bias come from? For example, young girls need to view STEM career pathways as viable options in the same way that black men need to believe that pursuing the arts is possible for them.
We know that sectors and job roles are set to evolve massively over the next decade. To meet the shifts, we need to be thinking now about the new workforce and who will fill those positions.
Shifts in the job landscape
Research in the US based on data from the current job market indicates there will be high growth in the tech sector. Changes in the way we work including home working and automation mean the data suggest strong demand for IT security and software development roles. The tech industry will be charged with developing programs for tool programming as production roles decline and other automated systems are needed to develop equipment to process material.
With the job market evolving over the next 10 years, it is more important than ever that we facilitate change for children and young people from ethnic minorities in education. Education must focus on shifting beliefs and embedded cultural limitations and businesses and organisations must build diverse leadership teams and an inclusive culture.