London mayor launches initiative to boost diversity in technology sector Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
THE mayor of London launched an initiative on Monday (29) to tackle under-representation of young black men in London’s thriving technology sector.
The intervention is the latest part of Sadiq Khan’s Workforce Integration Network programme which is focussed on increasing the number of young black men in the capital’s key industries.
According to statistics, Black men make up just five per cent of London’s growing 589,730 strong technology workforce, in a sector which is worth £56 billion to the economy.
Rather than just focussing on ‘skilling up’ young Black men to apply for jobs in the tech sector, the mayor’s Design Lab3 creates a space for businesses to come together, critique existing practices and explore the causes of under-representation in their workforces and the sector as a whole.
Large businesses are then are supported, as part of a 12-month programme to build an action plan to recruit, retain and progress more black men in their businesses. This action will focus on areas around recruitment, supply chains, workplace culture, data and progression.
At the end of the year-long programme, the businesses involved would have built an action plan to address the lack of diversity in their organisations, and ensure that young black Londoners who face additional barriers to employment now have the right opportunities and support to join and thrive in the tech sector.
The eight technology companies selected to take part in the programme are: Dell Technologies, Informa Tech, Cloudreach, Ford Motor Company, Profusion, Cognizant, Panaseer, and Telent Technology Services.
Khan said: “It’s simply not right that young, talented and ambitious young black Londoners are not being given the opportunity to prosper in the capital’s thriving tech sector.
“The impact of the pandemic has reinforced why the work of the Workforce Integration Network is so important. We have already successfully supported 20 large businesses in the construction and infrastructure sectors, representing a combined workforce of over 100,000, to remove barriers holding young black Londoners back, and I’m pleased that we are now building on this work with more action.
“I’m determined to ensure no Londoner is left behind as we recover from the pandemic. Someone’s life chances should never be limited by their family’s background or the colour of their skin. This new initiative will give tech and digital businesses better insight into the role they can play to address inequalities, improve diversity and create industry-wide change.”