53 companies commit themselves to PwC's Tech She Can Charter

20 July 2018 Consultancy.uk

Big Four professional services firm PwC has launched the Tech She Can Charter in a bid to increase the number of women entering the technology sector, and it has been signed by 53 signatories including PwC itself. The Charter aims to tackle the root cause of the gender disparity in technology at a societal level, by inspiring and educating young girls and women to get into tech careers and share best practice across the organisations involved.

Women in technology are set to be hit disproportionately by automation and digitalisation in the coming years. A recent study found as many as 30% of women in the sector expect their jobs to either significantly change or be elimated altogether in the next five years, compared to fewer than 20% of men. On top of this, according to PwC’s 'Women in Tech: Time to Close the Gender Gap' report, only 3% of women say a career in technology is their first choice, and only 27% would consider a career in tech, compared to 62% of males, suggesting the number of women in the sector is likely to decline in coming years, rather than increase.

Moreover, support networks are failing to challenge this, and fewer than one in six women have had technology suggested to them as a career, compared to one in three men, with PwC concluding this demonstrated that long-standing industry stereotypes still influence who enters the field. As UK businesses face a mounting crisis in terms of a talent shortage, while digital and technology work is spoken of constantly as a remedy to turbulence from Brexit, this wasted labour could prove catastrophic to Britain’s economy.

This dire situation prompted the Big Four firm to launch the Tech She Can Charter, an industry standard designed to increase the number of women working in the technology sector. The charter aims to empower women and equip them with the tools they need to pursue careers in the technology industry, and encourages companies to make an impact by driving tangible changes to policy and education, sharing best practices, creating female role models, and tackling stereotypes to promote gender equality in technology. By supporting the charter, meanwhile, signatories can encourage impactful change across education and governmental policies and create opportunities for women to network and be mentored by successful and influential women in tech.

This ground-breaking cross-industry initiative follows a PwC research study which reveals that

So far, 53 firms have made such a statement. A number of high profile names are already among the growing number of signatories. Along with PwC itself, fellow consultancy TCS, and professional services firm WeAreTheCity are joined by financial sector heavyweight Barclays, JP Morgan and NatWest Markets, along with notable public sector entities the British Science Association and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Sheridan Ash, Women in Tech leader at PwC and Tech She Can Charter founder, said, “Waiting until women are entering the workforce is simply too late. We need to take coordinated action to inspire girls to consider technology roles while they are still at school. Promoting visible and relatable role models is a huge part of this, as it can be hard for girls to aspire to be something they can’t see. From creatives and designers, to coders and data scientists, there are many successful women working in technology across different levels.”

Ruth Jones, Managing Director of communication agency LEWIS UK, one of the 53 signatory firms, added, “Inspiring young women to consider technology roles as a career path is imperative to changing mindsets. There is some great female talent across the technology industry and at LEWIS, but the gender industry ratios will only change if we can break down the early barriers.  LEWIS is immensely proud to be pledging our support for The Tech She Can Charter. We look forward to taking an active role in driving the change.”

The full list of signatories is as follows:

AND Digital
Apps for Good
Autumn Live
Baltic Training
British Science Association
Business 3.0
Caterham School
Colt Data Centre Services
Credit Suisse
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Digital Jam
Exate Technology
Geeky Girl Reality
JP Morgan
Just Eat
Makers Academy
Modern Muse
Morgan McKinley
NatWest Markets
Play Consult
Royal Airforce Charitable Trust
Reading Room
REED Specialist Recruitment
Sanctuary Housing Group
Tech Talent Leader
T Systems
Wayfinderwoman Trust
Women in Tech/techno jobs


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Women remain underrepresented in UK's hospitality industry leadership

12 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Female engagement at the top level of the UK hospitality industry is still lagging, with the vast majority of decision-making roles continue to be held by men. Only 7% of the industry’s FTSE 350 CEOs are women; however, the pay gap in hospitality and leisure is far better than in other industries, at a median of approximately 7%.

The hospitality, travel and leisure (HTL) sector is one of the UK’s largest employers, with 3.2 million people working in its segments. Despite a poor 2018 in terms of tightening consumer spending, the industry is still one of the top sectors in terms of economic activity, hitting £130 billion last year – besting the UK’s automotive, pharmaceutical and aeronautical sectors’ combined activities.

While the industry is one of the country’s largest employers, it still faces considerable issues around diversity at the top. New analysis from PwC has explored the matter, as well what initiatives the industry has engaged to open up its top ranks to a more diverse background.

Female representation at board level for UK companies and HTLs

According to a survey of CEOs, Chairs or HR Directors of over 100 of the most significant leisure businesses across the UK, the hospitality industry has a relatively male-dominated top level. This lags behind the FTSE 100, where companies have female board level representation at 32.2%. Meanwhile, the figure for the combined executive committee and direct reports stands at 28%. This is well above FTSE 250 levels, where female board level representation stands at 22.4% and executive committee & direct reports stand at 27.8%.

For the hospitality industry as a whole, board level representation came in at 23.6%, with FTSE 350 for the industry performing slightly better at 25.1%, while non-listed companies performed considerably worse at 18.2%. The firm notes that the figures hide that while some companies are making strides to improve equality, others are not moving forward – with the positive result reflecting more often the good work of some, while others are not taking the issue seriously in their agenda setting.

Blind spot

The study states, however, that while the overall numbers are relatively strong, the industry has a number of acute weaknesses. These include CEO numbers, with only 7% of HTL FTSE 350 companies helmed by women and 11% of non-listed companies led by female CEOs. Meanwhile, female chairs at FTSE 350 companies for the sector stand at zero. In terms of wider diversity representation, only 1 in 33 leaders at industry companies is from a BAME background.

Pay gap for HTL and hospitality

The report noted discrepancies between FTSE 100 companies and FTSE 250 in terms of improving the number of women at executive level. The majority have met the Hampton-Alexander Review target of 33% women at board level, up from around 25% in 2016. However, the remaining ~40% are not on target, and are unlikely to meet the target by 2020. A similar trend is noted when it comes to executive committee and direct reporting numbers.

Jon Terry, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting Leader at PwC, said, "To make real progress in diversity and inclusion, businesses need to elevate it onto the CEO’s agenda and align diversity & inclusion strategy to the fundamentals of the business."

Tracking progress FTSE 250 level

However, one area where hospitality travel and leisure companies are outperforming other companies in the wider UK economy, is the mean and median pay gap between men and women. PwC found that the median of the wider UK economy comes is approximately 14% – with upper quartile companies noted for a gap of low 20%, and lower quartile companies noted for differences of around 2%.

The median pay gap for HTL comes in at well below 7%, with the median close to parity. There are considerable differences, however, with hospitality at 7%, while travel comes in considerably higher, at 22%. The latter figure reflects fewer women in higher paid pilot and technical positions within the industry.