Half of women have experienced discrimination in UK tech industry

Half of women have experienced discrimination while working at a tech firm, new research from Studio Graphene has revealed. The London-based digital agency commissioned a survey of 500 full-time workers in the UK tech industry. It found that 49% of women have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace, while 20% have resigned from a role in the past because of discrimination or harassment.

The majority (60%) of respondents believe that a lack of diversity is an issue in the tech sector, though women are more likely than men to hold this view (66% versus 56%).

When it came to potential solutions to the diversity crisis, the most popular option among women is improved protection for whistle blowers – 62% are in favour of this option.

Studio Graphene’s research showed that 58% of women want to see the introduction of more open working practices, such as flexible and remote working, to help parents with young children. Furthermore, 54% back the move to anonymise CVs during the recruitment process to prevent bias. 

By contrast, setting a mandatory representation quota of women in tech companies is a less popular solution; less than a third (32%) of people, and even fewer women (29%), support this idea.

Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “The results of the research are striking; not only are there too few women in senior positions across the UK tech industry (77% of tech director roles in the UK are fulfilled by men), but there is also an alarming number who face discrimination and harassment in their roles. Meanwhile, there are less obvious but still important issues to consider, including the way that company cultures and working practices could be ostracising women.
“Tech firms are in the throes of a diversity dilemma and should take heed of these results – new interventions are desperately required to foster inclusion in the sector. We ought to be celebrating gender and ethnic diversity, but first startups and large corporates alike must stringently assess how they perform when it comes to hiring, supporting and promoting minority groups.”