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Diversity Reporting

Volume 600: debated on Thursday 15 October 2015

Of course, companies work better when their workforce reflect Britain’s diversity. It is more important than ever that we make the most of everyone’s skills and talents to maximise our economic growth. That is why we are requiring larger companies, including those in the technology sector, to publish their gender pay gap so that they have the incentive and the information they need to improve fairness for women.

I welcome the Minister’s warm words on women in technology, but she will know that the British Computer Society’s recent IT scorecard showed a lamentable lack of progress in increasing the proportion of women in tech jobs. She will also know that I have long campaigned on this subject. Companies that hide on this key issue for our economic future are betraying the next generation of engineers and technologists. What will she do to ensure that companies and her Government publish information on tech diversity?

The hon. Lady is an incredible champion for the whole of the STEM world, but particularly for women in engineering. Diversity is wider than just gender, of course; it extends to race and social background. Evidence shows that educational attainment is the single biggest predictor of the future life chances of children. We are requiring businesses to publish their gender information. Driving change through transparency works, as we know from the results of the work that Lord Davies has done. There are now no all-male boards in the FTSE 100. We want to continue this work, particularly in Ada Lovelace week. In an international week celebrating women in STEM industries, there is no better time to be publishing this information, holding businesses to account, and encouraging women to do the very best they can in the fields of engineering.