Local employers in Lancashire are being given the opportunity to participate in a new three-part ‘How to’ Inclusion and Diversity series offered exclusively to employers of tech talent.

The series is being offered to businesses for free supported by Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise, Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership and the  Lancashire Innovation Board in collaboration with the Tech Talent Charter (TTC), a non-profit organisation leading a movement to address inequality in the UK tech sector.

A recent TTC survey of people from Lancashire businesses identified the biggest business challenges as skills shortages and hiring talent.  According to the TTC, businesses that are faced with skills shortages must adopt a new way of thinking about finding, keeping and developing talent and must be inclusive to identify new sources of talent fast.

Most hiring managers, especially those in tech, have been fishing from the same small pond for talent. It’s time to access the talent traditionally underrepresented in tech, such as women and other underrepresented groups who have largely been excluded from the industry to-date.

The cost of not committing to inclusion and diversity has significant financial consequences in terms of turnover. A 2019 Boston Consulting Group study found that employees who don’t believe that their organisation is fully committed to inclusion and diversity are three times more likely to leave in the next three years than those who do (48% compared with 16%).  In other words, nearly half of all employees would be likely to seek employment elsewhere.

In TTC research published in May 2020 about the impact of Covid19 on organisations, 68% of employers said that improving the inclusion and diversity of their business was either important or extremely important to them in planning for business growth after the coronavirus outbreak.

Businesses that get the ‘why’ when it comes to inclusion and diversity in tech, but need a bit more support with the ‘how’ can sign up for this series of practical sessions put on exclusively for Lancashire based companies that employ any type of tech talent.

Debbie Forster, CEO Tech Talent Charter, said:

‘Inclusion and Diversity is essential for companies to thrive more than ever before.  Some people might think that a real focus on inclusion and diversity can only be achieved in big businesses with large HR teams or those that have an Inclusion and Diversity manager, with big budgets and resources to make things happen. We know that this is not the case. The TTC has worked with hundreds of small and medium sized businesses over the last few years and there are small, practical steps companies of all sizes can take to really move the dial and get great, diverse people in the door and to retain them to build innovative teams to move businesses forward. We see the beginnings of this in Lancashire and are excited to work with local employers to take this to the next level’.

Kerry Harrison, Digital Skills Coordinator at Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said:

‘The research the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership (LDSP) has undertaken about the Digital Landscape in Lancashire has identified that there was a clear skills gap and identifiable areas of hard to fill vacancies requiring specialist digital skills that were limiting growth and development of our local businesses. It also identified that there were underrepresented groups in our digital workforce. For example, fewer than one in six digital workers in Lancashire are female and less than one percent of digital workers are aged 16- 24.  Increasing the diversity and inclusive practices of the Lancashire digital sector to widen the talent pool that employers have access to is now a key pillar of work for the LDSP. We are excited to work with our partners to offer this groundbreaking business event as a step towards supporting our amazing Lancashire businesses to achieve this goal’.

Louise McArdle, Head of School of Management, Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise, said:

‘Never has dealing with workplace inequalities been so important, the Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise is committed to supporting ‘levelling up’ and supporting Lancashire businesses to grow while supporting diversity and inclusion. We believe that companies can benefit from reimagining the workplace to create a level playing field for all employees. Therefore we are delighted to be partnering with the Tech Talent Charter, Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership and the Lancashire Innovation Board on this programme to help address inequalities in the UK technology sector’.

Maya Ellis, Lead Officer, Lancashire Innovation Board, said:

‘We know that great innovation requires great people. Until organisations adapt their culture and hiring processes to be more inclusive, we know they will miss out on big sections of the talent pool. We’ve listened to lots of companies across the county who are keen to become more diverse but don’t quite know the first steps to take to get there. So we’re delighted that the Innovation Board can support this programme that will see Lancashire pioneer these sessions on putting diversity into action. We believe that when Lancashire grows, it must grow for everyone, and this new programme will help Lancashire in that mission’.

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