New research has highlighted how the majority of financial services businesses are still failing to take effective action to improve their diversity and inclusion; despite growing awareness of diversity issues across the sector.
The ‘Diversity in Tech‘ report, by the global emerging talent and reskill provider mthree found that more than half of financial services businesses (52 per cent) do not currently have diversity targets in place.
Furthermore, almost 1 in 10 finance companies reported having no diversity and inclusion strategy in place at all.
Despite the remaining financial services businesses actively trying to ensure all employees feel comfortable and welcome, 24% have received complaints from current or former employees in this regard.
“With so much public discussion around diversity and inclusion, it might be easy to assume that this increased awareness across the financial services sector is being translated into action,” comments Becs Roycroft, Senior Director at mthree, comments, “unfortunately, this just isn’t true in many cases.”
“Diversity in business is not only proven to be good for businesses themselves, with a recent report by McKinsey showing that ethnically and gender diverse teams are typically more profitable, but also for society. With this in mind, it’s important that finance organisations look at how they can both attract and retain talent from all backgrounds and walks of life.
“Diversity targets and an effective inclusion strategy are both crucial to this, so it’s essential that businesses in the financial services sector ensure that they have both of these initiatives built into their plans for the coming year, rather than failing to acknowledge the disparity or expecting it to correct itself.”
Tech diversity has proved especially troubling for businesses across all sectors, with Tech Nation reporting that only 15% of the UK’s tech workforce is from ethnic minority backgrounds, and that gender diversity currently sits at around 19%; compared with 49% for all other jobs.
mthree’s research also showed that 68% of financial services businesses are aware of a continuing lack of diversity on their tech teams, and over 80% admit that they struggle to recruit tech talent from a range of backgrounds at every seniority level.
Reassuringly, of those 44% are working to address the issue, but 24% said that they do not know how to change things. More worryingly, 9% said that they have never even considered whether they have a tech diversity problem.
“It’s been acknowledged for a long time now that diverse tech talent is in short supply. While it’s great to see that many financial services businesses are looking for ways to make improvements, it’s concerning that a significant proportion doesn’t know where to start,” Roycroft continues.
“We would strongly recommend that those businesses urgently seek expert help, either by recruiting an experienced in-house diversity and inclusion officer, a role that is becoming increasingly prevalent, or by working with talent providers that have a keen focus on diversity and clear strategies to achieve it in place.”