38% of those in UK tech sector believe their employments response to George Floyd killing was tokenistic

New data, published today by Black Tech Fest to mark one year on from the killing of George Floyd, reveals that a survey of tech workers issued to 55,000 people found that 38% of respondents believed their employment or place of study’s response to the protests and killing of George Floyd last year was tokenistic.


For many, the past 12 months had not led to significant improvements in racism, as 51% of respondents said they had ‘observed no change’ when it came to witnessing instances of racism whilst 30% believed ‘things have gotten worse’ in terms of race relations in the UK. This is in contrast to just 4% that said things had got ‘significantly better.’ The survey was commissioned this month by Black Tech Fest, a sister event to London Tech Week.


A large 63% of respondents said they had experienced or witnessed racist abuse in their place or work, and over half (52%) had experienced racist abuse in their personal life.

Furthermore 47% of respondents involved in UK tech say they have not witnessed positive change with regards to the treatment of Black people since the tragic murder of George Floyd and ‘things are exactly the same’ or ‘significantly worse.’


Almost half of respondents (49%) had experienced racist abuse from people in authority and 36% had experienced racist abuse online.
When quizzed on diversity and inclusion within their organisation 50% stated they had ‘observed no change’.

Ashleigh Ainsley, Co-Founder of Black Tech Fest said “Over the past 12 months we’ve seen some businesses, organisations and educational institutions make some authentic improvements to address the embedded processes of systemic racism. However, there is still a long way to go, and we would like to encourage the introduction of more anti-racist initiatives such as the ones respondents of our survey have called for. These include increased career-advancing opportunities for Black people, setting and achieving senior management or board diversity targets and the introduction of dismissal for racist behaviour. We would also like to see the introduction of pay parity targets and full well-being support specifically for Black employees and students.”


A further 42% stated they had observed ‘no change’ in terms of awareness of racism by senior leaders in their organisation.


The majority of respondents (80%) said they’d ‘observed no change’ in terms of whether the start-up ecosystem has changed for Black people since May 2020 in regard to transparency in the ecosystem.


In terms of venture capital funding, 69% said they had ‘observed no change’ in terms of whether the start-up ecosystem has changed for Black people since May 2020 in regard to funding and/or VC’s and investors. 67% also stated they’d ‘observed no change’ in terms of whether the start-up ecosystem has changed for Black people since May 2020 in regard to accelerators and incubators.
37% of respondents said ‘nothing had changed’ in terms of their place of employment or study introducing anti-racist policies and support since June 2020.


On a more positive note, 38% of those surveyed stated their place or work or study had introduced anti-racism or ally ship training and 22% had set or achieved senior management or board diversity targets.
Only 14% stated their place of work or study had reduced racial bias or comments.


When asked what anti-racist initiatives respondents would like to see their place of employment or study introduce, the majority (35%) said increased career-advancing opportunities for Black people.
Encouragingly, 40% believed ‘things had gotten better’ when it came to commitments by their company to diversity and inclusion.

Almost half 49% believed ‘things have gotten better’ when it comes to discussions of racism in society.


Over a quarter (27%) of respondents said they believed the technology industry is going to have less systemic racism following the actions and events of last year, whilst 34% believed it would have no more nor less and 10% did not believe the tech industry has systemic racism.

Author: Editorial Team

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