Breaking the barriers: pioneering diversity research to ‘create real change’ in Hackney’s tech sector
Less than one in four Hackney residents believe most people have opportunities to find good jobs in digital tech, according to pioneering new Hackney Council research aiming to break the barriers to Hackney’s thriving technology sector.
The findings have been published in ‘Diversity in Tech: Breaking the Barriers’ – a report by the Council’s Diversity in Tech Commission, which aims to ensure the vast opportunities provided by Hackney’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) industries are available to everyone in the borough.
Across the UK tech industry as a whole, just 2% of employees across the UK are Black, 11% have disabilities, 17% are women and 23% are aged over 50.
With Hackney seeing a huge growth in digital tech, innovation and creative industries over the last two decades, the report identifies the need for more awareness of job opportunities, improved training for people of all backgrounds and alternative career pathways to create a more diverse and inclusive sector in Hackney.
The recommendations are informed by the views of hundreds of Hackney residents through surveys and focus groups, as well as conversations with local employers, community organisations and public sector organisations.
The report was launched at an event at tech and innovation campus Here East, with three of the Council’s digital apprentice ambassadors Atiyyah Rawat, Kashan Heath and Anna Canby Monk – who helped bring the research to life – sharing their experiences.
Hackney’s Diversity in Tech Commission was established to close the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills gap and understand our diverse community’s intersecting barriers to accessing good jobs in the digital tech economy.
We are inspired by the willingness to participate and hope that the findings contribute to an ongoing conversation about economic opportunity and inclusion among leaders to create real change at the local level.
Getting the opportunity to share my experiences, offer insight into my apprenticeship journey and reflect on the findings of the report gave me a newfound passion for diversity and offering support in my community to be a role model for residents in the borough. I hope seeing and hearing my story will encourage others to get involved in tech and also encourage employers to look for diverse talent locally.
Presenting the report at the Diversity in Tech launch gave me an opportunity to share my own experience of moving into the sector. The report’s findings mirrored my own journey into tech, as well as conversations I’ve had about the opportunities and barriers we have encountered so far. I genuinely believe that true diversity will lead to innovation and advancements in tech.
It was an honour to present the report and reflect on its findings alongside our personal experiences. I hope that we were able to bring the report alive with our stories by representing some of the groups that face barriers in tech.
The report provides an evidence base from which to create change in the sector, with the Council now set to work alongside community groups, businesses and educators in Hackney and beyond to take the commission’s findings forward.