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In the wake of high profile stories of discrimination in the tech industry, the issue of diversity and inclusion has seen an increased focus. According to many respondents, this changed how many now behave. 45% of women and 36% of men agree that they've made changes to their behaviour in the last 12 months.

I have changed my behaviour as a result of increased focus on diversity and inclusion

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  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree

Diversity of thinking and experience fuels innovation and drives market growth. To put it simply, diverse teams create better products and solutions.

At Klarna, we now have over 80 nationalities, with over 55 in our Stockholm HQ alone. I am amazed that we have somehow managed to attract such talented people from across the globe to this small city in the north with dark winters. Most of our employees have moved for their job and if the culture is not open or enabling people to speak their voice and feel like they can make an impact, diversity does not matter alone, if it’s simply not inclusive and people will not stay or thrive. To scale and stay competitive in the tech industry, we benefit massively from experiences of people from many different types of backgrounds in building solutions. Diversity of thinking and experience fuels innovation and drives market growth. To put it simply, diverse teams create better products and solutions.

Sebastian Siemiatkowski

Klarna

The key to diversity is giving more entrepreneurs the right keys to grow their companies because it will create new employers, role models and owners.

By investing outside of the homogeneous networks of traditional venture capital we believe we can make great return and also drive change in society. The key to diversity is giving more entrepreneurs the right keys to grow their companies because it will create new employers, role models and owners.

Sara Wimmercranz / Susanne Najafi

Backingminds

One way to explore the extent to which the European tech industry is tackling diversity and inclusion is by examining the level of adoption of different policies that can help to enable a more diverse and inclusive company culture. Flexible working, for example, has a high level of adoption among European tech companies.

My company has a flexible working policy

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  • Yes
  • No
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Company size only includes founder and startup/scale-up employees.

Similarly, founders and employees of Europe's private tech startups and scale-ups report high levels of adoption of dedicated parental leave policies, though there is a marked difference based on company size. In fact, nearly 40% of companies that are still fewer than 10 employees have yet to put in place a parental leave policy.

My company has a parental leave policy

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  • Yes
  • No
Note:
Company size only includes founder and startup/scale-up employees.

Flexible working and parental leave policies are important steps towards enabling a more diverse workforce, but may not be sufficient on their own. Interestingly, a large percentage of companies, especially smaller ones, have not yet implemented an overall diversity and inclusion policy.

My company has a diversity & inclusion policy

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  • Yes
  • No
Note:
Company size only includes founder and startup/scale-up employees.

Even more targeted initiatives, such as specific diversity & inclusion hiring policies, are still uncommon among European tech companies. It is clear here too that many companies appear to delay putting in place specific D&I policies until they scale to a large number of employees.

My company has specific diversity & inclusion hiring policies

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  • Yes
  • No
Note:
Company size only includes founder and startup/scale-up employees.

The fact that such policies remain far from widespread in the European tech industries may be compounded by the fact that few companies have appointed dedicated D&I representatives.

My company has a diversity & inclusion representative

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  • Yes
  • No
Note:
Company size only includes founder and startup/scale-up employees.

There are, of course, reasons to be optimistic about the possibility of achieving positive change in the European tech ecosystem. In the last 12 months, for example, there has been strong momentum around initiatives focused on improving Diversity & Inclusion in the European tech ecosystem. In the UK alone, Diversity VC has identified 28 separate initiatives that are all tackling diversity and inclusion in various different ways.

Selected Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives in the UK

Note:
This list is illustrative and not exhaustive. If you would like to add your initiatives to this list, please contact us at research@atomico.com and we will update the list.

Our users are at the core of everything we do, and we’ve hired a diverse team to reflect our growing customer base.

Sharmadean Reid

Beautystack