Diversity and Inclusion at Monzo

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:


Great article thanks for posting this! @anon40779440

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On pretty much all staff being existing users - I do a fair few initial phone interviews & one of the questions we often ask at the start is whether someone has a Monzo card yet. That gives us some context on what they already know about us & what research they’ve done (it isn’t at all a screening criterion! but it shapes what intro to the company we give on the call).

Personally I’d want to try the product if possible before working at a company. And I often speak to people who signed up after applying for a job with us, or decide to during the course of that first interview. I sent out two golden tickets last week to interviewees!


You could give extra points to interviewees who hadn’t heard of :monzo: before applying, but found and used the Golden Ticket give/request thread by the time of the first phone interview. :wink: :laughing:

Seriously, though, thanks for the answer. Makes sense.

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Thought this was a nice article to highlight the need for men to speak up against sexism in the workplace if they see it happening. He’s writing from the POV of a man in effort to reach out to other men who might not outwardly harass women, but might not do anything to stop such incidents of casual sexism from happening for whatever reason. Not everything has to be instilled as a policy or a deliberate 50-50 gender split for an inclusive workplace.


I read this article a few months ago, about one of the founders of Nest and co-designer of the iPhone, which describes why he feels diversity is important in companies involved in tech design. It’s interesting and well worth reading.

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I certainly agree with the tone of this post - so much of the Monzo marketing and vibe looks to be aimed at younger people it feels very much like there is an age bias. I was recently looking at a blog post that ran for a Monzo that was actually age restricted to those under 25’s (may have been older) - You would never think of limiting an event to just men. What is strange is that the older employees and community members are actually more likely to keep balances in their accounts and want innovative features that allow them to spend their money better or by giving to kids / others - Monzo is certainly missing a trick here.


From the transcript:

“We’ll sponsor visas wherever we can when we find someone who needs a visa. It does take quite a long time and is quite a lot of unnecessary admin. It would be great if we could just hire people”

As a father of working age young adults I despair when I read things like this. Monzo is a UK company based in the UK and should always make every effort to hire UK/EU staff first. This is not a racist statement. By UK I mean all of the UK population but how are our kids supposed to find jobs, buy houses and live in their home country if employers are going out of their way to bring in staff from outside who need visa sponsorship.

The admin is not “unnecessary”. It is in fact vital to preserve jobs for our children. This admin ensures that employers don’t abuse immigration rules and while I am sure Monzo isn’t seeking to simply bring in cheap labour by stretching or subverting visa rules I am sure there are many others who would if they could.

I would be surprised if roles at Monzo were that specialised that you couldn’t find anyone in the UK to fill them. You just have to make an effort to find them. Are you really advertising nationally in all the appropriate trade journals and papers? Are you really pushing hard to recruit UK graduates from Universities all over the country and not just London. Are you really working with their careers departments in every corner of the country?


I’m a director of a charity who’s aim is to encourage UK students to study subjects relevent to my industry. There is a serious lack of graduates in the field for the opportunities available. It is an uphill struggle, we seem to have lost the desire to design things here, prefering to move people’s money around or talk about it on social media, whilst in many countries, technology is the place to be.

Instead, my company has to look for new talent abroad. We employ pretty much all of the UK qualified people in my field. There are now more than 20 nationalities working in my office, and I have to say, the diversity is fabulous. The traditional English reserved specialist has been joined by outgoing and loud Italians and Portuguese, amazingly academic Romanians and Estonians, quiet and reserved Indians, in your face Russians, gregarious Americans, you name it. Our coffee rooms are filled with debate over who’s best at footy, where to get ethnic food, who has the best beer, whether Brexit is a good idea…

Everything that having an open and inclusive country has given us over the years. We are a nation of immigrants - maybe not to the extent the USA is, but the flow of new blood has contributed hugely to our culture and success. We are variously viking, Norman, german, angles, picts, whatever.

My son works in the Netherlands, my daughter in some strange land to the North populated by fierce men in skirts :wink:

I celebrate open borders, long may it continue.


As a working age young adult, I despair at this sort of attitude. Some of the best colleagues I’ve worked with moved from Spain, Italy, France and the United States - and yes, they honestly deserved the job more than some of the UK students on my degree programme because they were better at the job than the other applicants.

I’m not sure how you got “we’ll go out of our way to bring in staff from outside who need visa sponsorship” and “we’ll overlook UK candidates of the same quality” from Monzo’s statement. If the best person for the job happens to currently live in a different country, why shouldn’t they be given an offer in line with all other employees of the same role?

@DaveTMG put it far more eloquently than I can on the benefits of a diverse workplace.

I don’t see why UK graduates should expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. The applicant who took the initiative and put the effort into finding and applying for jobs should rightly get the job. The idea that I should be expecting the employer to come to me and offer jobs to everyone via the careers department is just ridiculous. I want my job application to stand on its own merits and a hiring decision to be made on how skilled I am for the role - not because I happened to be in the UK at the time of the application or attended a UK university.


I am not saying that anything should be on a silver platter but it is right that in drawing up visa sponsorship rules the UK government whose primary responsibility is to its own citizens creates a system that forces an employer to make every effort to fill a job with a UK/EU applicant and only when that comprehensive search is exhausted should the visa sponsorship program kick in.

You mention the USA. They have very strict visa and employment rules. Why shouldn’t we? Good luck trying to get a job in America. If there aren’t enough suitable applicants from the UK then the answer is more and better education so we do generate skilled workers. And more effort from employers to engage with the education sector to ensure we are producing the skilled workforce we need.

I may be wrong but I get the impression that Monzo is mostly staffed by younger workers and although I am sure some have children I doubt from this thread that many have working age offspring. Perhaps if you did and your sons and daughters were looking for jobs you would see the other side to this coin.

Look around the world. You will find most countries have strict rules on this matter. Visa sponsorship should only be used in exceptional cases where there are genuinely no suitable UK/EU applicants.


Most (tech) companies I’ve interacted with and done freelance infosec work for are very open to sponsoring a H-1B.

Because y’know, I never had to look and apply for my own job as a UK citizen or anything. Clearly can’t empathise without being a father.

Have you asked your sons and daughters if they’d rather a skilled international applicant be denied a job they are qualified for because the company hiring hadn’t yet spent enough time (perhaps fruitlessly, from what @DaveTMG has said regarding a shortage of graduates) trying to get UK graduates to apply?

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Well yes actually. Monzo is a UK company that should have an obligation to make every effort to hire staff from the UK/EU before reaching for the visa sponsorship program.

Its all about the effort. Previous posts mention the difficulty of hiring experienced developers. I would expect Monzo to advertise in the major trade journals and subject relevant magazines/papers as well as online.

I would expect them to TRY. The whole EU is a large place with millions of workers of every flavour and background. I frankly find it very unlikely you cant find anyone in the EU to fill the jobs.

That’s all.

If having tried and they have no joy then visa sponsorship fine.

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The problem with the ‘hire locals first’ approach is that many companies are not competing with local companies - they compete with global companies. If the job is specialist, forcing the company to absorb all of the local candidates means that it gets the dross as well as the stars. This puts the company at a competetive disadvantage and it either doesn’t compete as well or it moves to a place where it can hire the people with the capability it needs.


There’s a huge range of ages- the age difference between the youngest to oldest spans 4 decades. I’m assuming the youngest would be in their twenties at least, so that would mean that there are lots of older folk in the company! Like the make-up of Monzo users it’s not just all young 'uns.

Also, I don’t really understand the obligation for Monzo to only hire UK (then EU) workers. Monzo is looking to expand to the US, the EU, and Asia, and having only a certain type of demographic in their staff means they could be losing out on a lot of valuable talent/ different experiences/ perspectives.

Earlier in the thread I think people mentioned the idea of “diversity debt” sounding like there was a quota to fill but I think Monzo is just making sure they aren’t sidelining anyone/ coming in with preconceptions about who is best suitable for a role based on their ethnicity/ gender/ etc.

If someone is best qualified for the job and would best contribute to Monzo, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t try their best to keep this talent. It’s sort of like the Brexit situation: Brexit wasn’t so much about prioritising British people/ what was best for the country (there’s nothing wrong with protecting own interests), but it signalled to people outside Britain that they weren’t welcome. Cue brain drain. It’s a powerful message.

TL; DR: If Monzo indicates they will prioritise locals regardless of qualifications, then that doesn’t quite fit with their image (as a sort of brand that will make waves internationally).