11 September 2020
CBI President Lord Karan Bilimoria will underscore the need for technology development to be truly representative of society if it is to deliver tangible benefits for ethnic communities, at the launch of the new CBI BAME in Tech Group.
Lord Bilimoria will say with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in America, and around the world, has brought the potentially devastating consequences that bias can have into sharp focus. This bias extends to the way we innovate and develop technology.
The creation and deployment of technology shape society but, historically, BAME experiences have been neglected at both of these stages. Whether that is the lack of BAME representation in the tech sector, or the low uptake of STEM subjects in early education, or the inherent bias present in some AI systems, issues surrounding the relationship between BAME communities and technology are varied and complex.
The new CBI group made of senior business leaders from across the tech industry including, telecoms, financial and professional services, will meet and seek to address the challenges facing BAME communities in the tech space. This will include showcasing initiatives to increase diversity in tech, tackling barriers in recruitment, promotion, and training, testing major policy initiatives and recommendations to ensure that the voice of ethnically diverse people are represented.
CBI President, Lord Karan Bilimoria, said:
“Since becoming CBI President one of my top priorities is to champion BAME representation across UK businesses and boardrooms. It is clear that increased ethnic minority representation in the tech sector is a critical issue that must be addressed.
“Ensuring that everyone has the same opportunities regardless of their background is not only the right thing to do. It also makes absolute business sense: whether it’s using computer algorithms to hire new staff or analysing employee performance, improving diversity in the tech sector will lead to better decision making and business outcomes.
“I am delighted to launch the CBI BAME in Tech group that will raise awareness of the key issues in this area. As the first BAME President of the CBI, the first Zoroastrian Parsi in the House of Lords, and as a young man of Indian background co-Founding Cobra beer in the 1980s London, I am passionate about sharing my experiences and supporting ethnic diversity through my role as CBI President.
“Looking forward, as we build back better from the economic impacts of coronavirus, technology will continue to profoundly shape the way we work, communicate and consume. We must have diversity in the technology sector if it is to serve the whole of society.”
Members will be invited to:
- Showcase initiatives being conducted by their organisation to increase diversity in tech.
- Share best practice and identify challenges around issues such as recruitment, promotion, and training.
- Act as a forum where major policy initiatives and recommendations can be tested, to ensure that the voice of ethnically diverse people is represented.
- Develop outputs that address key issues of interest to the group, such as AI bias, participation in STEM subjects, or the role of tech in BAME business support.
- Build a network of diverse BAME executives across UK industry which brings together senior and ‘next generation’ BAME executives.