DCF Report: Diversity in TelecomsAlex Mather
The Digital Connectivity Forum has published a landmark piece of research today, carried out by the leading strategic insight agency Opinium, to assess diversity across the UK telecoms sector.
The snapshot is a pioneering study for the Forum which intends to conduct regular tracking work to assess progress in ensuring a more diverse workforce across the telecoms sector.
The study, which was initiated at the request of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), assessed levels of diversity, including the current state of play across the nine protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The research also looked at attitudes and perceptions amongst the telecoms workforce.
Much work has been carried out in recent years to make the telecoms workforce more representative of that of the UK. However, the report suggests that further action is still needed. Key findings from the research show that:
- Gender diversity in the sector worsens with age, with 67% of those in the industry over the age of 35 being male.
- One in six of those working in the telecoms industry has a disability or long-term condition (16%), considerably lower than the proportion of those in the UK workforce who have a disability or condition (26%).
- Only one in three telecoms employees are aware of their organisations having an active diversity and inclusion culture.
The full report can be read here.
Stephanie Liston, Chair of the Digital Connectivity Forum, said:“This important research reveals that, despite the progress of recent years, work remains to improve levels of diversity across the telecoms workforce. Having a diverse workforce encourages more creative thinking, drives innovation, and ultimately improves business performance. With a labour market that is increasingly tightened and challenging, it has never been more important for careers in the telecoms sector to appeal to as broad a section of the population as possible.
“While there are multiple positive initiatives across the industry – including those that are working to address the lack of gender diversity amongst telecoms professionals – this study reveals some of the challenges that still remain.
The Digital Connectivity Forum is committed to working collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders to build on the industry’s positive work so far. This will include the formation of a new diversity and inclusion work group within the DCF.”
About the Research
The Diversity in Telecoms 2022 research comprised of two stages: quantitative and qualitative.
The quantitative research was conducted between the 3 and 8of August 2022 via an online survey with 504 employees working in the UK telecommunications industry. The survey was not confined to DCF sponsor organisations.
The telecoms sample was compared to nationally representative data for UK workers.
Opiniumtook a natural fallout approach of sampling telecoms employees, meaning that working in telecoms was the only criteria for participating in the research, with other characteristics (such as department) falling out naturally. It is important to caveat that the quantitative sample is unusually skewed to Manager+ levels and is not necessarily representative of the sector as a whole. The authors of the report advise treating the insights in this inaugural report as indicative rather than prescriptive to the sector.
The qualitative stage of research featured in-depth video-enabled interviews with three participants working in the telecoms industry which took place between 2 and 7 November. The interviews then informed the three case studies included in the report.
Opinium is an award-winning strategic insight agency built on the belief that in a world of uncertainty and complexity, success depends on the ability to stay on the pulse of what people think, feel and do. Creative and inquisitive, we are passionate about empowering our clients to make the decisions that matter. We work with organisations to define and overcome strategic challenges – helping them to get to grips with the world in which their brands operate. We use the right approach and methodology to deliver robust insights, strategic counsel and targeted recommendations that generate change and positive outcomes.