Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of what we do

Recent DWP Women in Digital event

Written by Simon McKinnon, Chief Digital and Information Officer, DWP Digital

DWP Digital is at the forefront of changing the services DWP offers customers. And diversity and inclusion are at the heart of how we do this. DWP is the largest government employer of women with over two thirds of our workforce female. But we know that in tech roles women are still under-represented: it’s estimated that only 27% of digital roles are held by women. So we’re committed to redressing the gender balance. We have an ambitious goal to achieve a 50% increase in female representation across the organisation by 2020 I’m also the gender champion for DWP and I’m committed to creating a workplace where everyone feels included and able to be themselves. In an evolving workplace, diversity allows challenge to ‘traditional’ ways of working. We’ve signed the charter to demonstrate our commitment to achieving diversity in the digital ecosystem.

We’ve recently signed up to the Tech Talent Charter (TTC) and  pledging to do better to reflect the diversity of the population in our tech workforce. The TTC is an initiative, supported in the government’s policy paper on the UK Digital Strategy, to redress the gender balance in tech roles. The charter outlines a number of pledges – here’s what we are doing to meet those promises:

Inclusive recruitment processes

So many factors influence a woman’s career decisions: from gendered toys in childhood to subtle messaging through education that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects are for boys.

We’re using research and insights about recruitment with the aim of removing bias from hiring. For example, we know that including certain words in job descriptions can put women off applying for roles. And we’re constantly improving our processes to remove gender bias. Right now we’re trailing new software that uses behavioural science to remove bias and improve predictive validity in hiring – to make it fairer for everybody.

Employment policies and practices that support the development and retention of an inclusive and diverse workforce

We also have a number of networks for people with minority characteristics with the aim of developing these colleagues in their careers. They provide excellent networking and training opportunities that help build confidence and engagement skills.

We know the value of having female role models in the workplace. So we’re leading the way as pioneers of a Digital Voices programme; a ground-breaking, 5-month agenda of activities to help women develop their digital skills and knowledge, while building the confidence to be more vocal – whether that’s on social media or through speaker opportunities.

DWP is the biggest government department and we’re on an exciting digital transformation journey. The opportunities to develop a career here and build new skills are huge. We’ve got excellent career pathways and professional communities where you can share knowledge and best practice.

Sharing best practice

We already work collaboratively across industry, but we’ll be working collectively with other signatories to further develop and share best practice. For example, our annual Women in Digital event brings together a range of voices from across the digital sector and digital government – and it keeps getting bigger and better! It’s a chance for women to network, collaborate and take away knowledge and tools to help them in their digital role.

Contributing employment diversity data 

We’ll work with colleagues across the Civil Service to collect robust data so that we can begin to understand any tech specific issues. We’re using our annual People Survey to collect data on diversity and we’re collecting data on application and recruitment activity. We’re also encouraging individuals to safely and anonymously share their diversity characteristics.

By collecting better qualitative and quantitative data, we can better understand the specific issues that affect our professions and work out where we need to improve to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Every person matters

Research shows employees are more productive when they feel engaged and engagement increases when employees feel valued. A more inclusive digital service will allow our employees to feel more valued. Working together we’re taking steps to ensure everyone has equal opportunity to participate in developing themselves regardless of their characteristics providing equal opportunities for everyone.

Originally posted here.

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