Scottish government to push for greater digital diversity

Staff within the Scottish Government Digital Directorate are exploring ways to create a more diverse digitally skilled workforce.

Writing in a blog post, Sarah Davidson, the Scottish Government’s Director General for Communities and its diversity champion, said that recent research carried out for them by Napier University found that only around 18% of those in digital technology roles in Scotland are women.

She added that digital diversity is about much more than just gender, and although it is difficult to get data from across the digital sector of people’s ethnic background, sexuality and whether or not they have a disability, it “would not be surprising” if the representation of ethnic minority and disabled employees was lower than the average in Scotland as whole.

To try and address the problem, the Directorate has come up with the following actions:

Hold an ‘unconference’ in March 2017: An unconference is where attendees put forward suggestions for discussion topics and then everyone votes on which discussion topics they are most interested in. People from across the public, private and the third sector will be invited along in the hop that there’s open discussion about what people working in digital think about the state of diversity in Scotland, and how a more diverse digital sector is promoted.

Explore whether a cross private public, and third sector network on diversity in the Scottish digital sector is required: If the group decides that this should happen, members will be recruited at the unconference to take forward actions on the ideas raised for creating a more diverse sector.

Release the diversity data for SG’s digital directorate: To show how committed it is to improving the diversity in the digital sector in Scotland, the Scottish Government’s digital directorate will release data on the diversity of its staff. This will create a benchmark that can be improved.

“We’ll be encouraging other public and private sector organisations that we’re working with to do the same,” said Davidson.

“As the use of digital technologies and the reliance on skills to use them continues to grow, the Scottish Government wants to encourage as many people as possible to consider a career in digital.

“New public sector opportunities will be emerging as public services evolve in a digital world. Shouldn’t we grasp this opportunity to try and ensure that the new workforce is significantly more diverse than it is at present?”

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