DiversityWorking ~ Career Channel News


IT workers urged to share experiences & create more positive industry

IT trade association Intellect has commenced the final phase of a project on diversity in the IT industry. The association is asking all members of the industry to participate in research examining the culture of their workplace and their career experiences.

The research, sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry and a number of private sector organisations, will provide a rich insight into the industry. It will allow inter-industry and inter-country benchmarking and will identify opportunities for government and businesses to create a more positive and equal environment. Based on the results of this research Intellect will develop an action plan to achieve a more equal and diverse sector, which will be disseminated and promoted across the UK IT industry.

The research will initially take the form of an online survey, open to all IT employees. It will be live until the end of February. Intellect is urging all members of the IT Industry to take the time to complete it.

Carrie Hartnell, programme manager for Intellect explains, "This is a fantastic opportunity to positively influence the way our industry develops - to help create a more equal, more professional, and as a result more competitive industry, to work in. The questionnaire only takes a few minutes to complete, but these minutes you give can leave a lasting legacy."

To further increase the scope of the research, focus groups will also be held to identify opportunities for institutions to develop policies and practices which will not only assist with their competitiveness globally but also assist them in recognising good practice both within their own company and others. The focus groups will be run by the Real World Group on behalf of Intellect.

Commenting Gillian Arnold, Chair of Intellect’s Women in IT Forum said: “This research gives us a chance to uncover the truth about the impact of culture on the increasing number of females abandoning roles in IT. In order to acquire and retain the best skills in the UK workforce, the industry needs to ensure that women’s – and indeed any minority group’s - discomfort with cultural aspects of the workplace is minimised, allowing them fulfilling and comparable careers to their male counterparts."

The first phase of the Intellect diversity research, which examined the IT Industry in comparison to international competitors and the impact of culture on this was launched in November last year. It indicated that the industry is failing to retain women: they are leaving faster than they can be recruited and few are in senior positions. In addition the number of women working in the industry is lower in Britain than it is in many other European countries. Consequently, Britain as a whole is losing out on skills, which can have a knock-on effect on productivity.

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