28 January 2020 – They say it takes all sorts to make a world. That phrase is often used with negative connotations, to highlight the differences between us.
But the truth is that it really does take all sorts… It takes all sorts to make fair societies, build brilliant companies, and create unique and useful technologies.
Here at BigChange, I have made it my mission to build an inclusive company. Not only because that is fundamentally the right thing to do but also because that approach will ultimately make us more successful. In business, especially in the technology industry, you need many different perspectives, insights and experiences to feed into your end product to make it fit for all, not just a few.
I’ve said it before but BigChange would be nothing without the incredible team that works here – and I’m saying this as the company’s founder. I may have had the initial vision but it’s been the hard work, skill, and extraordinary ideas generated by my 170-strong team that have made that vision a reality.
I’m so grateful that this team comes from all walks of life, from all over the world, and that different faiths, beliefs and sexualities are represented here. This is how we have created a platform that is used by 60 different industries, with 50,000 users across the world. We have only been able to build technology with mass appeal by taking into account the needs of the many.
According to 2018 research by McKinsey, the consultancy giant, ethically and culturally teams perform 35% better than executive teams with no diversity. Those with gender equality in the C-suite also generate 27% more value over the long-term. These numbers cannot be ignored.
There’s never been greater urgency to build diversity in UK companies. If we are to survive this economic crisis, and rebound stronger than before, we must put inclusivity at the heart of our comeback plan.
Many jobs have been lost and many more people will be looking for work over the coming months. This means there is a great opportunity for companies who are looking to grow their teams to hire talent from other industries, to widen the net to ensure they are getting as many different skills, backgrounds and ideas into the organisation as possible.
I am so proud of my roots here in Yorkshire and proud to be building a technology company right here in Leeds, home to so much talent and so many kind and brilliant people. I’m also proud that BigChange is now attracting amazing hires from all over the UK – and all over the world. Leeds becomes more inclusive, diverse and multicultural every year and I feel like BigChange has played a small part in that.
A lot more work needs to be done, however. If you look at gender equality alone, the tech industry has a problem to solve. While 53% of hires into technology companies are now women, according to McKinsey, 56% leave these companies just a few years later – that’s double the exit rate for men. Not to have children, but to pursue different careers.
This doesn’t faze me. If anything, it just makes me more passionate about my mission. 2021 is the year to make inclusivity a real business priority. Let’s all work as hard as we can to build inclusive, successful businesses. After all, it takes all sorts.