proven business benefits but the IT sector struggles to create workplaces that are representative of the society they serve.
We spoke to some of the UK’s top IT business leaders to find out how they’re developing diversity in their organisations and the wider world.
Read next: How CIOs can improve diversity and inclusion.
January 25, 2019
1. City, University of London Director of IT Claire Priestley
© City, University of London
City, University of London Director of IT
Claire Priestley has helped increase diversity in IT business leadership by creating CIO+1, a not-for-profit series of events that requests attendees to bring a "plus-one" from a group that is underrepresented in the sector. The guest can experience the speeches, participate in the discussions, and even present their own work.
Previous speakers at the event include space scientist Maggie Alderin-Pocock, and
CIO 100 member Alison Davis of the Francis Crick Institute, but some of the most popular have been the plus-ones, such as a Ministry of Justice employee who recently attended.
"We had more tweets as a result of her session than anybody else, even the keynotes, which I think a real testimony to it being a platform for your 'plus-ones' as much as a networking event," says Priestley.
Read next: City University Director of IT Claire Priestley describes how data can create personalised student experiences
4. United Utilities CIO William Hewish
© United Utilities
United Utilities CIO
William Hewish has been increasing the diversity of his workforce through unconscious bias training and other initiatives, while measuring stats which provide transparent evidence of the issue and any changes made. Hewish is also a member of the 30% Club, which aims to improve the representation of women on boards, and believes that there are numerous benefits of attracting talent from across society.
"Trying to get your pipeline right, trying to make sure that the filter's not wrong on the way in, and then trying to give opportunity. It becomes a bit of a groundswell; you get to a certain level and it starts to correct itself," he says.
"You get different ideas, you get different dynamics within the teams which are more creative and bouncing ideas off each other because people are coming from different perspectives. You have to take this in the round with other diversity too. One of the challenges for utilities in general is age demographics.
"We tend to have an ageing workforce, so that's another area where apprentices help us to change the mix of the workforce to be diverse from all angles."
Read next: United Utilities CIO William Hewish interview - Automation for the people
6. Trainline CTO Mark Holt
Mark Holt is improving gender diversity in tech through initiatives such as a partnership with the Code First: Girls social enterprise to help teach 20,000 girls to code by 2020.
"Tackling gender imbalance and championing talent within the technology industry is at the absolute core of our culture and values," says the
CIO 100 high-flyer. "An increase in female programmers, developers and engineers will have profound benefits to the UK's tech economy, its businesses and its customers.
"Similarly, we are hugely intentional about the Trainline culture: we actively care for it, and nurture it. We want Trainline to be one of the best places to work in the world, with great technology that supports amazing people creating awesome user experiences for our customers."
Read next: Trainline CTO Mark Holt CIO 100 interview - 'Wonderfully predictable' analytics mission