The Tech Talent Charter staged its first North East event in Gateshead, on the June 5th 2018.

At ten to eight, on a June morning, delegates were knocking on the door of River Terrace, BALTIC,  keen to get stuck into tackling the issues of tech talent retention in the North East

Sponsored by Accenture and Atom bank and supported by Sage, the event was attended by representatives from 46 SMEs, start-ups and large corporates including the BBC, Tombola, Durham University, The Girls Network, and Procter and Gamble.

Speakers at the event included Anne-Marie Lister, Head of People Experience at Atom bank and JoMcGovern, Senior Operations Manager, Accenture and Di Keller, Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager, Sage.

Our CEO, Debbie Forster, commented, This event actually came about when Rana Bhattacharya from Atom bank approached me after a Tech Talent Charter event where we laid out our determination to break out of the “London bubble” last November. He told me how many great companies were up here and already working on a North East ecosystem to support recruitment and retention –so it’s great to see this come to fruition only six months later.

All the companies here today know that to really help the North thrive, they can’t just recruit great talent, they have to work together to retain them – to fix the leaky part of the pipeline. Great recruitment processes are a start, but creating an inclusive culture, flexible work structures and processes to help people grow and progress in their career will benefit not just women, it will help companies grow and retain thriving, diverse teams – and help make the Northern Powerhouse a reality”

Companies rallied around Jo McGovern’s comment that companies need to ‘be bold’ in terms of changing culture, policies and ways of working to retain women in tech and Di Keller’s call to work together to ‘de-mythologise’ the thinking around flexible working to help it to become the new norm.

Mark Ions, CEO and Founder, Ions Talent Partners, agreed, commenting that, “policies aimed solely at women can lead to women feeling ostracised or singled-out for requesting flexibility, whereas a blanket policy for everyone becomes a living-breathing inclusive part of the company’s culture and will help retain talent at all levels.”

After the panel discussion, groups got down to business mapping existing initiatives they knew of, before hacking solutions to the problems in groups. We’ll be collating all this knowledge and including it in our “open-playbook” for companies, to help them recruit the best diverse tech talent for their companies.

Like our first regional event in Oxford, this event aimed to achieve 3 things – to make new connections across our TTC members, to map what was really going on for companies in the North East in terms of diversity in tech, and to begin that playbook and Anne-Marie Lister agreed, “…We’ve seen the Tech Talent Charter go from strength to strength as it’s reached out across the UK and we can’t wait to see relationships develop in the region. It tackles issues very close to Atom bank’s heart and we’re looking forward to collaborating with other organisations to make the NE a lighthouse for tech talent. “

Take a look at the brilliant coverage our event generated…

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