Tech Talent Charter to close

We are at a pivotal moment for the future of the UK’s tech sector.

When we first launched the Tech Talent Charter back in 2015, women held fewer than 15% of tech roles across the country, and few other diversity data points even existed.

As the UK’s fastest growing economy, a gaping chasm was opening between supply and demand for tech skills, and the industry was at risk of leaving behind those sectors of society not adequately represented within its ranks.

It was clear to us then, as it is now, that these problems were two sides of the same coin. It’s vital for the success and longevity of the tech sector that it reflects the true diversity of British society, and that it needs to make dramatic changes in order to attract, retain and develop a wider range of diverse talent.

We believed that the best way to drive real progress was to work with the industry at scale; to facilitate collaboration, not competition, and build a community of industry leaders to amplify issues, insights and trends across the industry. To focus on the how, not just the why of inclusion.

Over the past 9 years, we have stayed true to that mission and delivered real change.

But the environment that we now face and the priorities of the industry have evolved beyond measure. In September 2023, the World Economic Forum reported that the future of D&I initiatives in the US is under threat. And in February this year the Tech Talent Charter’s annual Diversity in Tech report, based on D&I data from more than 700 UK tech employers, reported a similar turn of the tide.

We observed that while three just years ago, companies were vocally committing to improve equality, posting black squares on their social media and investing in their action plans for improving D&I, today the direction of travel has shifted.

The issue has not gone away, but, fuelled by economic, political and social pressures, too many organisations are ‘quiet-quitting’ their D&I strategies, putting all that has been achieved at risk.

Many in our networks are reporting that their organisation’s D&I strategies are becoming increasingly insular and initiatives are being shelved to prioritise other business goals. We are hearing more and more stories from D&I specialists and advocates battling for support as their teams are dismantled, their processes eliminated or absorbed or who are being forced to step back from voluntary efforts due to changing business attitudes and overburdened desks. It is clear that something needs to change.

Against this backdrop, the Tech Talent Charter has made the incredibly difficult decision to close, and our Board of Directors has now voted to dissolve the organisation.

Our mission has always focused on amplifying the sector's challenges and needs, and providing actionable steps for change. Now more than ever, we believe that we must draw attention to the current industry landscape challenges to ensure progress and to be the catalyst for the formation of new commitments, accountability, and efforts.

We have been immensely proud to have been a convening and amplifying voice for the industry during a time when D&I took important steps forwards.

  • Since 2015 the number of tech roles held by women in the UK has doubled, to just over a quarter today (and around 29% among TTC Signatories), and hundreds of companies we have worked with and beyond have made bold strides forwards in their approach to D&I, increasing both their understanding and measurement of the diversity of their workforce and their investment and focus in inclusive and equitable policies.
  • We have built a community of thousands of D&I professionals and more than 800 tech employers, representing almost a quarter of a million tech workers.
  • We have convened and connected thousands of individuals and organisations to power progress through our virtual and physical events, our partnerships, podcast and our Open Playbook of Best Practice.
  • Our annual Diversity in Tech reports have collated and curated thousands of insights and data points showing the true state of diversity in the UK’s tech sector and equipping organisations to change and evolve their approach.
  • And we have shared all this information with the public for free so that organisations can learn from each other and work collectively to improve the industry.

We have had the privilege of working with many great organisations who prioritise inclusion and diversity. They will continue to lead the way for the sector. We are thrilled that our long-time collaborators techUK will support our legacy by continuing to make our research and resources freely available to support an industry that is still in dire need of change. And the Directors of the TTC remain committed to continuing to work with the industry and government to drive real progress on D&I.

Our decision to close is driven by the hope that it will amplify the need for renewed focus. We believe this inflection point is essential to refocusing efforts, refining methods, and driving greater commitment and investment at a systemic, industry, and regional level.

We hope that business leaders will recognise the risk they take by ‘quiet-quitting’ D&I, and we issue a call to arms for them to commit to long-term intentional efforts to build a more inclusive tech sector that creates opportunities for all. Without a sustained determination to do more and do better, hard-won progress will be lost. This is not the time to return to the old chestnut “why are there no women in tech?” and not to reinvent the wheel. We know what works; it is now the time to reflect on how best to drive the next chapter to ensure companies work together to actually put it into action and ensure D&I is a core business priority. If this does not happen it will devastatingly impact the whole tech ecosystem, the UK tech sector’s ability to compete on a global scale, and ultimately on all of us.

The TTC and our Signatories have written a powerful first chapter but a new one must begin. We’d like to sincerely thank our incredible team, as well as DSIT, our Principal Partners, ambassadors, Signatories, and everyone who has supported the Tech Talent Charter and our vision, as well as the leaders who have told us they are doubling down on efforts to create fair, equitable workplaces and, in turn, creating a strong, representative future tech landscape. Please continue your important work.