Netflix, Alphabet & Deliveroo Among the Lowest for Board Member Diversity
The vast disparity between men and women in positions of leadership within the tech industry is evidently still apparent in 2021. After analysing the top 10 tech companies in both the UK and the US, global recruitment agency MRL has discovered that overall, women make up just 24.7% of tech boards of directors in the UK, and 31.36% in the US.
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Across the top 10 UK Boards of Directors, there were a total of 64 men and just 21 women in the UK (24.7% women), and 80 men to 37 women in the US (31.36% women).
The companies that were analysed included Deliveroo, Revolut, and TransferWise from the UK and Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Amazon from the US
Best & Worst
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the company with the most even distribution of gender across their board of directors in the UK is Elvie, a female-focused brand founded by Tania Boler, which describes itself as ‘bringing women’s technology out of the dark ages’.
The board of directors for Elvie is currently an even split of 3 men and 3 women, however all other 9 companies had less than 37% director positions appointed to women. TransferWise came dead last, with zero women on their board which includes six male directors.
In the US, Microsoft has the most even distribution, with six men to five women. While not as diverse as Elvie, it came close with 45.45% women.
Nvidia came last, with just 3 women and 10 men. Netflix and Alphabet are also right at the bottom, both with 3 women and 9 men – exactly 25%.
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The full breakdown shows that the majority of tech companies in the UK have just one woman appointed to their board of directors. In the US this is slightly higher, with most companies having at least three women appointed to directorial roles. However, this is alongside 9-11 male appointments.
A spokesperson for MRL said in response to the findings, “It’s disappointing to see that in 2021, we’re still not truly achieving equality across our leadership positions.
“In order for the tech industry to keep growing and thriving, we need insight and perspectives from a range of people with different backgrounds and experiences. MRL Recruitment have been championing women within the tech industry for years, because we understand that skill and talent is not exclusive to one gender.
“It’s time for all companies to step up and take a look at their recruitment and promotion history and understand that if there is an imbalance, it needs to be addressed.”
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Kerry Harrison, Co-Founder of creative tech agency Tiny Giant, says “Tackling the current gender imbalance isn’t simple. In my view it relies on change not just in organisations, but also in society and education as a whole. For starters, we need to be encouraging more girls into STEM subjects and ensuring that the technology sector feels like somewhere we belong. Young women need to see role models in the industry that look like them.
“I also feel that businesses need to offer more flexible working if they want women to be part of the C-suite. Often, the point at which women reach board level coincides with us having a family. So more flexible working is essential if we want to hold onto and build on the brilliant female talent within our organisations”.
Hannah Marcus, Associate Director at Discover AI says, “I think one of the challenges when it comes to diversity in recruitment is that people think that knowing about it is the same as solving it. It is hard work, and quite often you can be doing all the right things – diversifying your pipeline, changing the language on your adverts, advertising in different places – and it still isn’t showing the kind of results you might expect.
“I sometimes wonder whether this is more challenging for the tech industries, because we’re so used to everything happening so fast, and changing so quickly, that when you don’t get the kind of instant results that you see with the product you’re building, you assume it’s not possible, or it’s not working, and give up, or try something else. This is always going to be a slow road, because so many of the problems are not only structural, but are about wider structures than just your own company. And when it comes to examining leadership that’s doubly the case – you can’t expect change to ‘trickle up’ – it might be stretching the metaphor a bit, but it’s literally physics – it’s going to be harder work to push for change at the top. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing – it’s just not going to provide that instant ‘hit’ of satisfaction as quickly as people might think. I’m not surprised at these results, but I’d be very interested to hear what commitments each of those companies have made to diverse recruitment, and how long they’ve been working at it.”