Background

Equality for those working in IT is legislated by the 2010 Equality Act

In 2010 The Equality Act (EA2010) was introduced to provide ‘a modern, single legal framework with clear, streamlined law to more effectively tackle disadvantage and discrimination’ in Britain[1]. The act legislates against inequality in all aspects of employment from recruitment and contractual negotiations, working practices, management / assessment, pay and benefits, training & development through to termination of employment, and in each of these areas the Act seeks to equal treatment irrespective of a person’s age, (dis)ability (physical or mental), gender, marital status, maternal status, race, religion or sexual orientation.

Given that that the Equality Act is now nearly seven years old and that nearly 50 years have passed since the introduction of various, now integrated, ’core’ pieces of equality focussed legislation (e.g. the The Equal Pay Act), the hope would be that society and employers in particular have had sufficient time to digest and accommodate the associated requirements, and that workers (current / future) in Britain[2] enjoy equality of opportunity in the labour market whatever their personal characteristics.

In this report, we seek to test this hypothesis with particular focus upon the IT labour market and associated professions. More specifically, using data from the ONS Labour Force Survey we have sought to provide an understanding of the levels of equality and inclusion facing four key groups identified within the Equality Act namely women, the disabled, those from ethnic minority (i.e. non-white) groups and older workers (in this instance encompassing those aged 50 and above).

The purpose of this analysis is three-fold:

  1. Firstly, to provide a definitive source of information concerning the levels of ‘minority’ representation amongst the IT professions for all individuals / organisations with an interest in this area,
  2. Secondly to identify and explore the extent to which the market is failing those from minority groups as demonstrated by below average levels of representation / compensation amongst these groups when compared with others working in IT,
  3. Lastly, to highlight some of the potential benefits of working in IT that may be enjoyed by anyone with an interest or aptitude for such work be they from minority groups or otherwise.

[1] The Equality and Human Rights Commission.
[2] Legislation in Northern Ireland is primarily set out within Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.