According to a nationwide OnePoll survey commissioned by the Institute of Coding, 70% of young people believe that the digital sector is run entirely by those that are of white, British ethnicity. The Institute of Coding, is the government-funded national consortium of educators and employers dedicated to solving the digital skills crisis, and the nationwide poll of 1,000 16-18 year olds also found that more than half want more diversity (56%). At the same time over a third (34%) agree that there are unequal opportunities for women in this sector.
Further revealing their perception that the digital workforce lacks diversity, 71% of youth surveyed think the industry is made up of people solely identifying as heterosexual, 83% believe it’s led by men, and 85% believe the majority of people working in the sector are not disabled. As a result, one in ten admit they are actively discouraged from pursuing digital education and jobs due to the lack of people that represent them
Demonstrating the need for more diverse role models in tech, 41% said there’s a lack of female role models in the industry. Mark Zuckerberg was revealed as young people’s top tech icon (21%), followed by Jeff Bezos (10%).
The results suggest that the next generation of talent is being put off digital education and careers before they even start. We know that a diverse workforce is essential for the future success of the digital industry, so the IoC is responding to these findings by announcing a new campaign called CTRL Your Future, aiming to shift the dial on diversity and inclusion in digital across the UK.
Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President of techUK and Co-Chair of the IoC, said: “While some of these opinions echo what many people in the industry may already feel, what’s shocking is that these are the perceptions of young people who’ve yet to set foot in the industry.
A reboot of the digital sector starts with welcoming a fresh, more diverse cross-section of talent through the doors, and CTRL Your Future will highlight some of the people across gaming, fashion and design who are already helping to reshape industry – calling on the next generation to get involved.”
Launching on Ada Lovelace Day, the IoC will champion a cross-section of diverse people making waves in digital and rebooting the face of the industry along the way. CTRL Your Future will first partner with DIGI-GXL. Led by Cat Taylor, DIGI-GXL is an inclusive community supporting women, trans and non-binary people looking to reshape the world of 3D design and animation – seen through recent collaborations with Selfridges and Nike x Trippin.
Other partners will include London Gaymers, the UK’s biggest LGBTQ+ gamer community providing a safe and inclusive space for gamers and the STEMettes, the social enterprise inspiring young women to pursue a career in STEM, founded by Anne-Marie Imafidon.
Events, inspiring panel workshops and short films will be rolled out over the next several months, unveiling the diverse face of the industry, showing the creative opportunities that exist through emerging tech and calling for more young people to get involved.