As a director of a business in the IT space and with a daughter studying a science subject at university, I felt it was important to support International Women’s Day.
Currently, a third of Hippo’s staff are women and given the area we work in, this isn’t too bad a record. But, that clearly leaves us more to do – as diverse as we are, we are plainly still not representative, as women make up 51% of the UK population.
There’s also another wrinkle. The services we provide are predominantly design, research and analysis based and it seems that it is possibly our focus on these less overtly technical skillsets that enables us to attract and retain a relatively high proportion of women in the business.
You could say that this shouldn’t matter, but to me it does matter and it matters a lot.
Most of the work we do is in the public-sector where we are central to the delivery of citizen-facing services. If collectively as an industry, we are to excel at delivering services that meet the incredibly diverse needs of the British public, we need to go a lot further to reflecting that diversity in the businesses delivering and maintaining services – not just in the design space, but across the service delivery spectrum.
I’d hope by now we could look to significant shifts moving through from younger generations. Women on my daughter’s theoretical physics course make up just 19% of her year – that might be progress, but it doesn’t seem great to me.
I do take heart from Hippo’s ‘third’ – it’s a start. But I also fully acknowledge that if businesses like ours aren’t even more successful at presenting balance in diversity, I can’t look to my daughter’s prospects as she emerges into the world of work and say I wasn’t part of the problem.
We still have much to do.