Ripjar has recently signed the Tech Talent Charter (TTC) as part of its work to proactively encourage diversity in its recruitment pipeline. Maria Cox who leads on Ripjar’s HR strategy recently answered questions on the diversity agenda and what it means to Ripjar.
What is your role at Ripjar?
I look after the most important asset to our business: our people. I’ve been with Ripjar since 2016 and I’ve seen huge changes growing from successful startup into a global business. People are the most important ingredient to our success, so I make sure we have everything that is necessary to have a vibrant, diverse and thriving workforce, and to attract and recruit the best talent where we need it most.
What is the most important thing about diversity?
Diversity is essential in the way we operate. Having people from different backgrounds, genders and experiences ensures that we make decisions with a truly global perspective. Diversity gives us strength in our technology, analysis and relationships.
How do you go about improving diversity within an organisation like Ripjar?
It seems the traditional approaches to diversity and inclusion have been well-meaning and have involved significant effort for example, where targets are set for increasing numbers, HR duly puts action plans in place of how to get there. While there’s nothing wrong with having something to aim for or to measure against, the problem comes when numbers become our only focus and we lose sight of our real purpose which is to increase the true diversity and inclusiveness of our company.
It’s time to recognise that for all the effort, business cases, targets and initiatives, progress has been slow. We want to shake things up and actually make a difference.
What is the challenge that technology companies like Ripjar have?
There are studies that show the number of female employees in the technology sector in the UK is very low, perhaps 15% or less. This is a concerning number when you think about the overall number of women in the UK workforce. We know that there are a number of factors that contribute to this, from early education to discrimination in the hiring process and for this reason the problem needs a number of different approaches to solve it. It’s definitely a journey, not a destination, and there is much work to do.
What attracted you to the Tech Talent Charter?
I think the most important part of the charter is the relationships it gives us across the community. Through collaboration, sharing best practice and learning from each other in the industry, we can show that a career in technology is incredibly rewarding and through tweaking our approach and mindsets around attraction, recruitment and retention we can increase diversity in tech and inspire younger generations.
The charter helps us support the attraction, recruitment and retention practices so that our business processes more actively increase diversity in the workforce. Learning from the other signatories, and shared online resources including bench-marking reports, and playbooks.
Also, through this collaboration we are helping to generate data which is invaluable to tackling the wider problem at the national level.
What are the next steps for Ripjar’s diversity agenda?
We are imagining the world as it ought to be, not necessarily how it is. There are some real challenges that we have to put work into if we are to address the imbalances within the technology sector.
Signing the charter is the first step on that journey, and we’re now setting milestones of the things we would like to achieve and tailoring that journey to where Ripjar is and the level of growth we expect over the coming 18-24 months.
Everyone seems to agree that the problem seems to start with young people and making them aware of the education and career opportunities that technology provides, so we’ll invest in that and in our talent pipeline. We also have to ensure that our strategy considers BAME and LGBTQ+ groups and ensures we have a holistic view over the development and growth of our workforce.
For more information on the Tech Talent Charter, please visit their website here: https://www.techtalentcharter.co.uk/