Diversity and Inclusion at Monzo

This is a very complex issue: The employment statistic for a position should be reviewed in comparison to the number of people that actually applied for that position and the overall population in that region. Anything else, is not helpful at best and could be quite misleading and hurtful at worst. It is unfair to say that my local mechanic’s is sexists for not employing women if no women have applied for a job as a mechanic there, that there is a general bias in education and society at large and a very limited number of females seek (or are not given the correct opportunity) a job in mechanical fields, cannot be blamed one specific employer.

In Northern Ireland (because was already mentioned and that’s where I’m from), legislation does require employers to query and record the ‘background’ of all applicants (anonymously obviously), applicant is allowed to refuse to provide information in which case them employer is required, to the best of his ability, to “guess” and record what these are. So for example, even if I tick “other”, I will very likely be always squared into the “catholic/nationalist” option as I am an Irish passport holder named Paddy :grinning: who went to St. Patrick’s secondary school (Very catholic/Irish background). I wrote background because here, it is more of a generalised ethnoreligious thing not a purely religious issue. I will forever have been brought up an Irish Catholic - and would still be susceptible to discrimination on these basis - even if I don’t believe in God and don’t follow the teachings of the church and the ramblings of the Pope. :expressionless: Companies will again be required to get this information again at interview stage and finally again at recruitment time when contracts are signed and NI numbers provided, payrolls set up.

The reason this is done like this in NI is that we can now review how many people have applied for position and compare it against the ratio of that amount actually working for that company. This still means we can have a 100% protestant work-force in a relatively small company/shop located in the heart of a protestant/unionist area (Yeah we are that divided here, sad :cry:). This will only provide alarm bells, and authorities can question employment strategies if say the ratio of protestant/British(orange) to catholic/Irish(green) was something like 75:25 where the actual ratio of applicants was 40:60. Then, provided the pool of applicants was big enough to infer this doubt, you should surely be investigating why this is the case!!


Here’s the link to today’s 10 minute Q & A with Maria,

She covers -

  • Measures that’re in place to guard against unconscious bias when recruiting new staff (0:42)
  • Is there a conflict between finding the right person for the job & making an effort to increase diversity across the team? (4:00)
  • And why Monzo doesn’t require applicants to have a degree (5:55)
  • What steps will Monzo take to avoid religious discrimination, even if they’re not compelled to do so by legislation (7:33)
  • Are the visa sponsorship’s - that were mentioned in the blog post - reserved for people in technical roles? (8:58)

  • When will Monzo follow up with an update? (10:32)

I think we’re saying the same thing here. “Diversity debt” can mean any number of things to different people, which is why we have written about our definition of it here. I think you will find a lot to agree with in that post.

I hope neither of the blog posts sounds like we would ever hire somebody who isn’t right for the job :slight_smile: If you think it does, let us know where and we can modify it to be clearer.


Question put to me by a someone who preferred not to post it themselves.

Bathrooms are a major issue for transfolk due to their gendered separation. Is this in any way considered when picking offices or venues for events? Will single-occupancy unisex toilets be at least considered for the new office for example?


Or a choice of say unisex one end of the office and traditional male and female the other.

I know one employee who quit a firm when they experimented with unisex toilets as that employee had been assulted/attacked in the past and did not feel comfortable sharing a washroom with a person who was not or did not appear to be their gender.

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I covered the perceived ‘right person for the job’ vs ‘diversity’ tension in the periscope (@Naji will be posting a transcript in the coming days) - the quick answer is that I don’t believe there is a tension.

I’m starting with the assumption that talent is proportionally distributed among the population. If our team doesn’t reflect the demographics of the population from which we can hire, then we’re missing out on the best person for the job at least some of the time.


I think @Tara can provide some clarity here. On this subject, I can just say for the moment that it was something heavily discussed amongst staff members on Slack and we’re keen to have the solution that is comfortable and inclusive for everyone, no matter how they identify.

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This is really key. :thumbsup:

On a similar note, I think many people (including in this thread) go down the wrong path thinking that diversity is the thing to chase. It is my opinion that diversity (and everything great that follows) is the thing you get by being inclusive.

A similar opinion is shared by the director of possibly my most played game of the last year, Overwatch. Jeff Kaplan talks about it in his DICE keynote talk and I highly recommend watching it as there are some really great points that I think can be translated outside games and the gaming industry.


Just checked age stats, median is 29. A fifth of us have kids or other caring responsibilities. The 26-30 age range is the most common.


For reference, you can find an abridged transcript of yesterday’s periscope Q+A here.


As @simonb pointed out, we have discussed this at length on Slack and it is an ongoing conversation, especially due to the exploding loo problem at our current office.

When we first picked the new office we did want to have unisex bathrooms and included this option in our tender documents for the fit out for this very reason. Ultimately, the cost of doing this and the time needed to complete this project meant that we were not able to do it for the new office when this was not going to be our forever home. This was disappointing, but as anyone who has been to our office knows, we need to move to somewhere new quickly as we have outgrown the current space.

As we were not able to install the superloos we will continue to have gendered bathrooms, but people are free to use the bathroom that they feel is the right one for them, or use the disabled bathrooms if they feel uncomfortable choosing a bathroom.

This is not a perfect solution and we know this, but in order to have safe spaces for women, enough bathrooms for everyone and to be able to move within a timescale that suits us this was the solution for now.

If you have thoughts/opinions on this we would be happy to hear them :+1:


Given the constraints you described, that sounds like the best policy to have. :slight_smile:

3 posts were split to a new topic: Missed telephone interviews [Hiring]

“I’ve split these off after brief discussion as the issue should be addressed separately from the diversity and inclusion blog discussion.”

It’s great to see that Monzo are now signatories for the Women in Finance Charter.

Since launch, 77 financial services firms have committed to have at least 30% women in senior roles by 2021 and 23 firms have committed to a 50/50 gender split in senior roles by 2021.

Today’s new signatories will announce their targets in June.



The problem is who is making that decision of the person to be hired being right. What makes that elusive right? If the person thinks that women have no technical skills and has experience working successfully only with men, he/she might be biased towards males as chosen colleagues. Full disclosure, I am a software developer, female. People often tell me: We want to hire more women but there just aren’t any good ones. We can’t hire bad females just because they are females. I believe a contributing fact to this could be that many female entrants are discouraged to carry on careers in IT from the beginning. Like all beginners, male or females we don’t get good at something overnight it takes time, motivation and support from peers. With females, they enter into not-so-supportive, at times even hostile environment where people are outright telling them they have low expectations of them BECAUSE they are girls, encouraging them to be project managers/business analysts instead. With no peers to relate to or approach and they end up exiting before getting any good. When I train a new developer it doesn’t matter to me whether they are male or female I try to be kind to all. This is not the case for some of the male staff I’ve worked with in the past. They don’t realise their bias and act dismissive towards female juniors, who then end up exiting believing this kind of environment is not worth the distress. This brings about the problem of not having sufficient sample of good female developers, further reinforcing the ideas that female developers that are good are a hassle to find. Let’s just get just as good of a male developer hassle-free. This is not to say, let’s start hiring dummies for the sake of D&I and PC. It is difficult issue to solve. All I am asking fellow male colleagues please be patient and understanding. When I entered male-dominated working environment I had to learn the craft itself, AS WELL AS learn how to fit in, understand you, your humour, your world views and all that by myself no one to talk to because as you might agree, you guys are not good at that sort of thing :smiley: So can we please get a little bit of patience and understanding too. Please :slight_smile:


This ^^

I’ve not seen/nor worked with a single female developer in my short development career. When companies try and find some they run into the issues you have suggested. Thats when they often try things like quotas or female specific internships simply because they want to help and encourage more women but those methods can often backfire. I wish more female developers were as open about the issues they face as you, we need to completely remove the idea that developers/IT professionals are men sitting in their parents basement still


Although you didn’t specifically say that the hostile environments you were talking about were in the workplace, I’d suggest we need to look much earlier than that. I did a Computer Science degree in the mid-noughties as a mid-level Uni and there were 3 women on my course (out of about 100 people).

As someone involved in the recruitment of developers, the comment “there aren’t any good female developers” isn’t so much a critique of female developers but merely a combination of the fact that there are very few good developers full stop and that is then combined with there being very few female CVs in the first place.

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Yes unfortunately gender stereotyping starts a lot earlier. And is still going on. For example:

Source: https://twitter.com/hattibelle/status/831089802523074560

Source: https://twitter.com/Raphaelite_Girl/status/844145430468444162

Groan :frowning2:

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I’ve been listening to the very interesting interview with Tom on the OnDesign podcast. In response to a question about how new staff are inducted into the Monzo approach and way of thinking, he said that basically all new staff so far have been existing Monzo users. Given that we also know (from this interview and others) that Monzo has primarily expanded through word-of-mouth, and that it started with “white middle-class 30-something men in central London” (again, some variant of this phrasing was stated by Tom), I was wondering how much these factors hinder the diversity and inclusion hiring efforts.

I understand that Tom wasn’t saying that being an existing user is a pre-requisite for being hired, or even something that Monzo is looking for – it’s just how it’s turned out so far. But if Monzo customers are the most likely to apply for jobs at the company, this could make it difficult to break through to other, more diverse, groups (not just race/gender, but financial situation, etc.). I guess one approach is to be more pro-active at signing up a diverse range of customers, but this requires second-factor effects to result in a more diverse workforce. Anyway, I was just curious if Monzo staff have any insights into these tensions and how to address them.


I want to see more women in technology, but feel we’re going about it the wrong way.

Like @deleteme, I feel “Women in Tech” betrays the diversity within the community of female technologists.

It strikes me as a movement that’s sometimes driven by the media, and by activists, and thus it fails to represent actual women in technology - or, at least, fails to represent all of them. Saw a great blog post on this subject yesterday: