Written Tuesday 20th August 2019

The Chief Diversity Officer in 2019 Whitepaper

Earlier this year, we were delighted to co-host the launch of “The Chief Diversity Officer in 2019” whitepaper with Colorintech. Based on in-depth interviews with more than 30 diversity and inclusion professionals, CEOs and technology leaders across the UK and the USA, the report explores the evolution of diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. 

The report covers topics including the rise of the Head of D&I role, the most common strategic struggles that practitioners face, and how employees at every level can support D&I initiatives within their organisations. 

Most importantly, it presents indisputable evidence that diversity is good for business and that the tech sector still has a long way to go.

The report’s key findings include:

  • Women make up only 17% of the UK technology sector’s workforce and there is zero British BAME representation on the UK’s top 16 tech companies’ boards. This is despite evidence that companies with a focus on diversity and inclusion achieve better profits 
  • Over the past 12 months, there has been a 23% increase in the number of practitioners with ‘diversity’ in their job titles. More than 60% of CDOs started their role within the past three years
  • In a sample of the UK’s top 16 technology companies, only 39 women and four people from an ethnic minority background sat within the 152 board positions 
  • In the US, six of the top 10 highest-valued start-ups and private companies have a CDO or equivalent. In the UK, this figure is zero
  • CDOs identified resource, unconscious bias and dependence on others as some of the key blockers stopping the development of diverse and inclusive workforces in the UK
  • In Silicon Valley, 9,610 individuals have ‘diversity’ in their job title. This figure drops to 680 in the UK. 

Speaking during the event, Jacqueline De Rojas, CBE and Chair at Tech UK, described how the UK is behind the curve in terms of organisational equality. She commented: “This report couldn’t come at a more timely juncture in our focus on diversity and inclusion in British tech. Its numbers tell a story, and that story is one we’re really ready to hear and change.”

Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams, MBE and Global Director, Diversity & Inclusion at King agrees, describing the tech industry’s current stage of Research, Development & Innovation (R,D&I) as at the ‘toddler’ stage. But her outlook for the future is positive. The data is in and it shows the most productive companies are the most diverse. If you want to stay relevant, expand your reach, capitalise and be sustainable as a business, then you can’t be innovative without having R,D&I. There’s a clear business case for it.”

Karol Ussher, Head of Global ISV Success, EMEA at Amazon Web Services, acknowledged that creating diverse and inclusive workplaces can feel overwhelming, but that we all have a part to play. “Step one is building awareness this report does a great job at that. The next stage is action. People can be change agents by doing small things like introducing unconscious bias training, celebrating different cultural days, having speakers in from different diverse and cultural backgrounds. These small things will ultimately change our workplace culture.”

The report has already generated some great responses on social media but we’d love to see more! Let us know what you think of the report and its findings by tagging us (@DruthersSearch) in your posts.


In the words of de Rojas: “Diversity and inclusion is a journey down the path less travelled. It’s going to be different and sometimes a little uncomfortable, but it’s also going to be fun and create competitive advantage.”

Click here to download The Chief Diversity Officer in 2019.