At the Wired Sussex Talent Festival in June 2018, I helped to deliver the Wired Sussex Skills and Talent Manifesto, which has the aspiration to make Greater Brighton the best place in the UK for anyone to have a career in digital.
We all know the value in attracting diverse talent and creating inclusive workplaces, where everyone can thrive. We can see the great work that is already being done by the digital community in Sussex members and the ambition for us to collectively improve.
To help aid, support and celebrate this, I put together the Diversity toolkit – outlined below. This content first appeared on the Wired Sussex website. Here are some resources, case studies and best practices, with special mention to the volunteer groups in Brighton UK.
Recruitment and Retention
What Am I Allowed to Say in a Job Advert?
As an employer, you want to make sure that talented people from under-represented groups feel welcome in your company. But it can be confusing to know how to best reach the broadest range of potential applicants. Even something as straightforward as the wording of your job advert can be challenging.
If you’re based in the UK you work within the UK Equality Law of 2010. This law explains what employers can – and can’t – say and do when recruiting, to ensure a level playing field and grow a workforce that better reflects us all.
This law describes the ‘protected characteristics’ which include: age, disability, gender, gender assignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, pregnancy and maternity, religious belief or lack thereof and sexuality.
Recruiting, you can take positive action but not ‘positive discrimination’, which is unlawful.
This means you can expressly encourage – by telling applicants that you welcome – applications from those protected categories. This works. It has been proven to have a positive impact on rates of application by qualified people from under-represented groups.
For example, simply mentioning that you encourage applications from people in those protected categories does make people from those groups apply.
There is no evidence to suggest it discourages anyone else, so adding encouraging language in your job advert helps everyone.
Here is some sample copy for your next job advert.
We welcome applications from women, LGBTQ+ and those from working class backgrounds. We especially welcome applicants with Black heritage and people of colour.
What you can’t do is specifically give someone an interview based on those protected characteristics, any more than you could exclude that person for those reasons.
However, there is a special legal exemption for applicants with disabilities. This means you can go further in that case, for example, you can guarantee to interview every applicant with the required essential skills who has a disability. But that exemption doesn’t apply to other characteristics such as race, age or gender.
We will always champion inclusivity and help our members recruit the best talent from the most diverse range of backgrounds. For us, it’s important: by expanding the talent pool, everyone wins.
Resources for Recruitment and Retention
- Top tips on recruiting for diversity [Article – 5 min read]
- How to write inclusive job ads [Video – 16 mins]
- How to create gender-neutral job adverts [Article – 3 min read]
- Flexible working tips to retain staff [Video – 15 min]
- What you need to know when taking on an Intern [Article – 5 min read]
- Guidance for employing disabled people and people with health conditions [Article – 15 min read]
- How diverse is your team? [Video – 2 mins]
- What is the government ‘Access to Work’ scheme and who is it for? [Video – 25 mins]
- What’s the Brighton Living Wage? [Article – 2 min read]
- Why train as a Mental Health First Aider? [Article – 4 min read]
Diversity for Events
And if you’d like to get more women, people of colour or other people at your events, read this article I wrote on the top three things you can do to improve diversity.
Local Tech Groups Supporting Diversity
- Codebar Brighton promotes diversity in tech through their free bi-weekly coding workshops – for LGBTQ+, women and people of colour only.
- DINT is a free online community set up to make connections between people who care about diversity and inclusion in tech.
- Women in Games Brighton for women working in games.
- Spring Forward is a festival for and by women in tech, every March celebrating International Women’s Day.
- SheSays Brighton helps women in tech & design through inspiring events. Part of global SheSays network.
Diversity Statements from local companies
Diverse Stock Images and Illustrations
- POC Stock
‘Stunning stock photos for organisations featuring diverse and culturally accurate images of people of colour.’
‘Mix-&-match illustrations of people with a design library’
- Disabled And Here Collection
‘This stock library is a disability-led effort to provide free and inclusive images from our own perspective, with photos and illustrations celebrating disabled Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC).’
‘Beautiful photos of Black and Brown people, for free’
- Create Her Stock
‘Authentic stock images featuring melanated women for content curators’
- The Office Hustle – Black Illustrations
‘We include black people of all shades, body types and hairstyles to find the perfect fit, Images include folks in an office environment for your digital project’
- Age Positive Image Library – Ageing Better
‘The first free library showing positive and realistic images of older people in a bid to challenge negative and stereotypical views of later life.’
Beyond Brighton – More Resources
If you want to understand how tech can be complicit in perpetuating systems of oppression:
- Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Noble
- Rage Inside The Machine, Rob Smith
- Technically Wrong, Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Follow a spread of race, gender (expression, identity), orientation, physical ability, neurodiversity, nationality, socioeconomic status.
Build a broader network for recommendations:
In creative and tech fields, we have ample resources for this:
- Copywriters of colour – https://www.writersofcolor.org/
- Designers and illustrators – https://www.peopleofcraft.com/
- Designers – https://blackswho.design/
- Tech-related news and podcast for POC in tech – https://peopleofcolorintech.com/
- Creative and tech-related newsletter from outside the bubble of the Western world – Other Valleys
More resources you might find useful:
- A Handy Glossary of Terms [Article – 5 min read]
- Tech-ish [podcast – 2 min read]
- The Good Ally [book – 2022]
- Diversity in the Start-Up Sector [Article – 6 min read]
- Why Women Stopped Coding [Podcast – 4 min listen]
- Why and How to Make your UX Research Practice More Inclusive [Practical Guide – 40min]
- Tech Nation’s Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit [Practical Guide – 1hr+] Actionable insights and guidance to help founders build diverse and inclusive companies
If you’d like a confidential chat about diversity, would like to add a resource or want to ask me anything, book a call today.