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Tech sector needs to think creatively when recruiting to improve gender diversity, firm says

A London tech firm is urging the technology sector to think creatively when recruiting or risk missing out on the many benefits of a gender diverse workforce.

WM Reply believes a creative approach to talent acquisition is the solution for an industry with a well-publicised poor representation of females. Latest figures give the percentage of women employed varying from around 25% to as low as 17%, depending on the exact focus of surveys and reports.

Richard Acreman, partner at WM Reply, said, “As the head of a tech company, I believe we all have a responsibility to improve the level of diversity within the sector. A creative recruitment strategy is key to this.”

Acreman credits WM Reply’s diverse team to taking a long-term approach to their workforce development and sourcing their talent as early as possible. The tactic has seen the number of female employees double since January 2015, with women even outnumbering men two-to-one in some consultancy roles.

He commented, “When you are growing a company, there’s always the temptation to opt for the finished article and recruit straight for senior roles. But this means the options available are already narrowed, both in number and diversity.

“At WM Reply we’re committed to recruiting from as wide a pool as possible. We focus on aptitude and grow our employees from the ground up.”

The tech firm are also introducing career talks for local schools, and hire apprentices through the Microsoft apprenticeship scheme, which allows them to employ talent more suited to practical application than academia. Entering female employees on tech-focussed courses such as coding, and taking part in community events such as Women In Tech has also played a part not only in attracting diverse talent, but keeping it too.

Acreman added, “The great thing about a diverse workforce is it means new team members are less likely to feel they don’t fit in and the inclusive atmosphere it produces gives us a higher retention rate. The knock-on effect of this is it allows us to be more creative and understanding in our work.

“The issue of diversity in tech isn’t going to be solved overnight, but if we continue to think creatively I believe a solution can be achieved.”

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