News | Published December 02 2019

RDT speaks out on recruitment solution amid Zuckerberg's woes

Mark Zuckerberg came under fire last week for choosing to speak to eight men and one woman when looking at the future of technology in society, the BBC reported this week.

Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, said his aim was to talk to ‘leaders, experts and people in our community from different fields’.

The eight men selected were Harvard law professors Jonathan Zittrain and Noah Feldman, Mathias Dopfner, CEO of publisher Axel Springer, Dr Joe DeRisi and Dr Steve Quake who run the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, economist Tyler Cowen, Patrick Collison, CEO of payment platform Stripe and historian Yuval Noah Harari. Jenny Martinez, dean of Stanford law school, was the only woman invited to take part.

This has raised criticism across the board and prompted questions about the role of women in technology. Many have deemed Zuckerberg short sighted and as having little commitment to diversity, while his defenders have suggested he was simply picking the best figures for the job.

Those on Zuckerberg’s side may have a point, but it prompts the question as to why more women have not been in this position in the first place. This issue is certainly not restricted to the U.S.A. Mark Bates, CEO of RDT in the UK, works on the production of some of the UK’s most widely used insurance software and has seen the same problem in his field.

In an industry revolving around IT, Bates laments a shortage of suitable candidates, writing in his best practice article for The Parliamentary Review that ‘recruitment is a constant battle for our HR department’. He adds that ‘while RDT’s staff is culturally diverse, women techies are rare’. This has led to the company running apprenticeships and offering summer internships to sixth formers, but Bates is worried that ‘girls never apply and it seems that they aren’t being encouraged to learn to write code’.

The solution may have to start at an earlier age, or the next Zuckerberg’s table may well look fairly similar. Bates says that ‘from a business perspective it restricts my ability to hire people, but it’s bad for the whole country’. His solution is to send recruiters to local girls’ schools to try and spark interest in careers in tech and I.T. Perhaps outreach from companies like RDT is a model that can be replicated in order to improve the country’s productivity and its diversity at the highest level.

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The Parliamentary Review

December 02 2019

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