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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Sussex's Digital, Media & Tech Sector

A strong Wired Sussex community is not just innovative and collaborative but also inclusive and diverse. We exist to support the digital, media, and tech sectors in Sussex, which is a community renowned for challenging conventions and fostering creativity, yet we recognise that the tech industry needs to do more to ensure workplaces reflect the rich diversity of where we live—and that includes us.

The Current Landscape

While the UK tech industry has reached a staggering net worth of $1 trillion and continues to grow, diversity is still nowhere near what it could be. National statistics suggest that only 16% of IT professionals identify as women, and 8.5% of senior leaders in tech come from ethnic minority groups. Only 9% of IT specialists are reported to have a disability. 

Statistics are useful but don’t tell the full story. The lack of diversity they reveal translates into a lack of opportunities for marginalised groups (poor inclusivity), the loss of considerable talent across all sectors in this area due to lack of equity in how opportunities for work are presented and awarded, and mean that our work as a whole suffers from a lack of valuable insight and experience from groups who are poorly represented in our sector. 

If we are serious about creativity, productivity, innovation and profit, we need to think critically about the diversity of our teams, equal opportunities for entering and progressing in our sector, and how far people feel included in our workspaces. 

The Skills and Talent Manifesto

There are some excellent women and people of colour producing wonderfully nuanced and innovative work in our R&D space, the FuseBox, but we, like many other organisations, still have a way to go to achieve a base of residents and members who represent the full diversity of the Sussex region. 

One key way we have so far demonstrated this commitment is through our Skills and Talent Manifesto, a collaboratively-produced pledge to help make Greater Brighton the best place in the UK for anyone to have a fulfilling career in the digital sector. The key word: anyone. We believe in building diverse and inclusive teams and fostering a culture of lifelong learning and collaboration.

Our manifesto is not just a statement of intent but a roadmap for action. We are committed to promoting recruitment processes that attract talent from across society, creating inclusive and supportive workplace cultures, sharing best practices, and making our region accessible and welcoming to all talent.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Practice

Here are six proactive steps we can take to enhance diversity and inclusion in our workspaces:

  1. Be location-inclusive. Happily, the tech sector is well-suited to remote and flexible working, which could enable those with a physical or mental health condition or caring responsibility to work with you. 
  2. Nurture your company’s culture. An inclusive and empathetic workplace atmosphere will naturally attract a more diverse range of employees. This starts with leadership but should be reflected at all levels of an organisation.
  3. Commit to hiring processes which promote diversity. Break the cycle of 'like hires like'. Brighton-based Watch This Sp_ce offers a programme dedicated to inclusive recruitment strategy, which would be an excellent place to start. 
  4. Develop diverse talent. Diversity, equity and inclusion doesn’t stop with hiring. Every member of your team should also benefit from equal opportunities to grow and develop. Approaches may need to be flexible to fit the individual, e.g. with neurodiverse colleagues—equity as opposed to equality. 
  5. Lead by example. Celebrate the benefits diversity brings to your team in your external communications, marketing and job adverts.
  6. Don’t rest on your laurels. DEI is an ever-evolving area and being open to growth and learning is important. 

Where are you on your DEI journey?

Progression towards diversity in the workplace is obviously not a process best developed in isolation. We are hugely grateful to all the companies and individuals who helped to create our Skills and Talent Manifesto, and we want to retain this collaborative spirit going forward. 

Check out this blog post by the brilliant Rifa Thorpe-Tracey, which includes some useful general resources as well as tips for recruiting diverse talent, and more. 

If you have any comments, resources or questions, let us know by emailing and we’ll share them with the community. 

About the author

Ophelia Schultz-Clark

Community Assistant

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