This message particularly resonated with me. Too often, we think of the diversity issue in silos specific to our own identity group.
My late father was a pioneering lawyer who became the first Asian-American elected to the California State Bar Board of Governors, co-founded the California Bar Foundation to empower the next generation and create a more diverse legal profession, and inspired and mentored minorities to pursue legal careers. He reminded me that real change takes time but is possible if we collaborate and build understanding and trust, not division and fear.
He said that equality has also been a struggle for minority men, and transformative change can only be achieved by championing integration, not polarisation. The civil rights movement would not have succeeded if the majority had not supported minorities and stood side-by-side with them to fight prejudice and injustice.
Although the tech industry has had a positive impact worldwide, there is work for us all to do to promote diversity and inclusion. Recent stats from BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT
, show that women make up 17% of the tech industry in the UK; minorities also comprise 17% of the industry. Research by PwC
suggests that the gender gap in tech begins at school level and carries on further into later stages. In UK fintech, women make up 29% of the workforce, with only 17% in senior executive roles, according to a fintech census by EY and Innovate Finance
. A recent study of the 500 largest UK tech companies
shows that almost three-quarters of the boards of these firms have no one from a minority ethnic background.
Women are also underrepresented in venture capital, with women comprising only 18% of investment professionals and 13% of decision-makers
in the UK. Female founders received 2.2% of global venture capital funding in 2017, according to Forbes
. Forbes also notes
that less than 1% of American VC-backed founders are black.
Diversity also makes sound business sense. McKinsey’s study
shows that more diverse companies financially outperform less diverse ones.
As Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, said:
“The only way we’re going to build a business of relevance is to have diversity of perspective, diversity of background. If we want to serve the world, we have to be the world.”
Shaping tomorrow’s City at the Lord Mayor’s Digital Skills Summit
On 30 November, I attended the Lord Mayor’s Digital Skills Summit, which convened business, tech, charity and educational leaders in London to ensure that people, communities and businesses are equipped with digital skills and that the City will remain at the forefront of innovation. This ambition is part of the Lord Mayor’s programme ‘Shaping Tomorrow’s City Today’
and is supported by the City of London Corporation’s Digital Skills Strategy.