We’ve also improved the representation of women in our wider tech team through a series of actions, like actively sourcing candidates for technical roles rather than just advertising them on our website. This means we can reach out directly to a range of candidates, rather than relying on open job postings which often result in a less diverse applicant pool.
Is that delivering the best person for the job, or trying to fill a quota?
Representation of women in technical leadership roles has increased by 7.3ppt to 22.5%. But we still need to work on this to meet our company-wide target of 40% women in leadership positions (currently at 35.6%) and close our gender pay gap.
Why only 40%? Is it because it is a realistic target because the industry skews male?
To be fair, I don’t think those are the only options. You can take actions that improve the likelihood of job vacancies reaching certain candidates without getting in the way of hiring the best person for the job. You could argue that by increasing the diversity of candidates, you actually improve the likelihood of hiring the best person for the job.
I agree in that you can target people to get the best person for the job - there is an entire industry based on it after all - headhunting. But this was targeting a demographic, not a person. Which begs a more fundamental question (not Monzo specific) as to why those demographics aren’t applying for the vacancies to start with.
I think the point is that there are demographic groups that are less likely to discover vacancies through the traditional methods, so they are taking additional action to increase the likelihood of those groups seeing the vacancies and having an opportunity to apply.
Alan and Kirsten - thank you for sharing this important and very well written report. Regardless of any reponse to the content, the report itself is very much an outstanding model of good practice.
I spent my entire working life in the Education Sector, where support from policy makers for the teaching of financial literacy was and remains woefully inadequate, so it is particularly refreshing to read of your involvement with young people and I wish you every success with this.
This is a good report, and it feels the effort goes beyond the usual level of tokenism.
Still, I think area is important in this too. Monzo’s main office is in London, which is about 16% black / mixed black for example. It is always interesting to look at how an office represents the area - most places I’ve worked in London, outside the office you see a huge variety, step inside the office and it’s a mainly white environment. U.K. averages can be a little misleading in this respect.
Yes as @Lewis_P says, this is about how we source candidates for our technical roles so we have a good gender balance across the group of people that we consider for a job. As we mentioned, we found just advertising the roles on our site wasn’t giving us a very diverse pipeline. And we challenge ourselves to understand how we attract the most diverse group of people to our roles. So for example, we looked at ways we can increase the number of women who are applying for jobs at Monzo by doing things like partnering with Women in Tech Forum and hosting meet-ups and using job boards that’d reach possible candidates in their network. This increases the likelihood of women applying for a role at Monzo. But it of course doesn’t change the expectations of what we require for a role. All candidates then go through the application and interview process as usual, where we test for the skills we need for that job.
Yes you’re right - we set ourselves ambitious but realistic targets. This goal exceeds the current benchmark in the tech industry. We see this as a stepping stone towards 50% but this is something we want to see the whole tech/fintech industry strive for.
And yes you’re absolutely right! It is self reported so the number could be higher.
Forgot to add – here and throughout the report, the goals we mention are targets for the representation we’d like to see, rather than quotas (requiring us to fill roles with people from particular demographics).
Agreed. At a guess from my own experiences: the interview processes. Every job I’ve ever had has been firmly the result of the whole it’s not what you know but you know mantra. I’ve never been able to hack an interview.
In my experience, neurotypical colleagues are the disadvantage. They lack understanding, are unwilling to make accommodations, and expect their autistic colleague to work to their understanding of the job instead of identifying where their autistic colleague has skills that can be directed and applied, and areas where they will need more support or accommodations.
It was very much an eye-opener when I realised this and saw what happens in a work environment. The autistic employee will work to instructions given and documented procedures, while the neurotypical employees are upset that they’re not following the unwritten rules that ‘everyone’ knows or learns. There’s often a lack of understanding.
However, I think a large part of this gap is generational, and I’m always try to set a good example and hope the needle shifts over time that the people will less understanding grow to be outnumbered. There’s a lot more books out now on the whole variety of the spectrum, as well as TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and growing parts of popular culture - there’s a recent BBC children’s series telling an autism-centred story with a hugely diverse cast that looks incredibly exciting. A Quiet Spark, I think it’s called. ETA: It’s called A Kind of Spark.
In addition to this, personal barriers / problems at work have been:
Almost every job advert / interview feels like it is written for what is common for Predominant Neuro Type (PNT) people - that is, it asks you to be quite good at almost everything. ‘Excellent communication skills’ is added to every job, even when someone with totally standard or even substandard communication skills could easily excel at that job - lots of things are like this. And although a PNT person might think ‘oh that’s just a standard thing we add’, a lot of autistic people will focus on that detail and feel they couldn’t meet that criteria. Other offenders are ‘outstanding organisational skills’, ‘team player’ (whatever that means), ‘great at multi-tasking’. Autistic people tend to be very good at a narrower range of things.
Problems misinterpreting a direct / matter of fact communication style as being rude, or portraying anger. This can be mixed in with my difficulty understanding hierarchy (another common autistic trait), meaning you end up offending someone senior and it blocks progress.
Lots of problems arising from workplaces that function on a primarily social basis. Small talk in the kitchen, non attendance of parties or events and stuff like that
Another common autistic trait I possess is a strong sense of right and wrong, and adherence to rules. This, you might think, could be an advantage e.g. an employee that flags a GDPR issue, unfortunately it’s mainly seen as a nuisance.
Poor appreciation or awareness of the importance of an environment - playing music too loudly, lights too bright, uncomfortable chairs, people who just walk up and interrupt you with small talk during the day.
Every autistic person experiences autism differently of course. But the discrimination comes down to not appreciating that there are different ways of thinking about things, experiencing things and communicating things, and being intolerant or ignorant of those differences.
A shame for companies as autistic people are often highly creative, incredible problem solvers, able to carry out highly detailed tasks and fast learners among other things. I don’t want to hijack the thread so I will end there, but 29% is still shocking.
As much as I greatly appreciate folks like @HoldenCarver, and wish more folks were like them, I think it’s only half the picture.
The core world, and therein the workplace, just hasn’t been designed with neurodivergents in mind, and what I’d personally love to see, and advocate for, and am trying to do myself with how I do things, is redesign the way these things work so they’re more inclusive for folks like us. That’s what I want for the next generation.
A neurodivergent with a neurotypical who truly understands them and helps adapt situations for them are truly a force to be reckoned with in the workplace. There’s no better duo IMO. It’s how my friend and I built our company.
Yes it is a pretty stark statistic. That is why it is important we (and the wider industry) continue to focus on how we can make our ways of working and recruitment process as accessible and inclusive as possible. It is a real opportunity to get some talented people into employment.
You make a really good point. When we create our People of Colour and Black and Mixed Black targets we do actually look at both the London data and the wider UK data from the census. For context too, 24% of our staff are based in London and 76% are distributed.
For overall representation of Black and Mixed Black people we’re aiming for somewhere in between. For leadership, we’ve set a goal to be representative of the UK census as a first step. In the same way we’ve done with our company-wide target of 40% women in leadership positions – we want to set realistic targets we can then build on.
Really interesting to see and read the report. I appreciate that (working in this industry) it does have a challenge in being seen as a “mans world” and that positive action needs to be taken to dispel this ridiculous perception and make it open for all. So that I’ll support all day long and it is great to see!
Can I ask a question around diversity. What’s the aim here? I presume it’s more than just trying to fill targets to say “look how diverse and open we are, we have a lot of women in tech, we’re great”.
Because a lot of companies fall into that trap. I presume it’s about ensuring the right person has access to the right role, and any barriers are removed.
So would be good to see what Monzo are doing to extoll the benefits of having such a diverse workforce and why it matters to have these people in those roles, not just for some vanity metric.
Because in my experience the best workforce in tech is one that brings a whole range of diverse perspectives, and to show this as the benefits to the business from seeing this so that other companies can be inspired by this.