UK Firms Lag in Prioritising Women's AI Leadership Roles

A study by IBM reveals that over a third (37%) of business leaders in the UK recognise the growing significance of promoting women into decision-making roles as artificial intelligence becomes more prevalent.

The research found that a substantial majority, nearly three out of every four business leaders surveyed, viewed increasing female representation in leadership positions as crucial for mitigating bias and ensuring equitable advantages from AI adoption.

Nicola Hodson Chief Executive of IBM UK & Ireland stated in the report: "Amidst the rush to embrace the exciting possibilities of this technology, business leaders must consider human needs, and design a trustworthy, human-centric AI system with governance at its core-that is aligned with the values and principles of the society or community it serves.

"Ensuring that diverse teams develop and deploy AI makes the output of those systems more likely to represent all part of society and limit bias."

69% of business leaders are convinced that greater female representation in decision-making positions would help ensure the benefits of AI are distributed more equitably across the economy and society. However, the 37% of UK businesses that prioritise promoting women into leadership roles was the lowest figure among the markets surveyed by IBM across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), where the regional average stood at 51%.

While just over 32% of business leaders reported having a woman currently in a decision-making role related to AI, many organizations claim to be working towards increasing diversity. Nevertheless, more than half admitted that enhancing diversity is not a formal priority for their company.

Antonia Walt, Chief of Client Experience, AND Digital commented: "Business leaders prioritising the inclusion of women in decision-making roles, particularly as AI is continuing to come increasingly influential, is a significant step towards creating a more representative tech environment.

"But while it's encouraging that UK business leaders are highlighting the need for increasing female representation in leadership roles, it is concerning that this is the lowest across EMEA. Many businesses are encouraging women to enter the tech field, but they must also focus on retaining them. To solve the impending skills crisis and enhance diversity, we need to not only attract more women into tech, but also ensure they have opportunities to grow and lead."