Race, Equity & The Future of The Information Lab
The Information Lab welcomes all. We seek those with passion in any area of their life and ask that they apply that same passion to analytics. We recognise that everyone has something to contribute, helping us and our clients make sense of data.
Our hiring practices to date have been designed to focus on skills not background, with no requirement for a CV or specific experiences. However this alone has not been enough to help us lead the field in diversity – we could have done more.
A little over 3 years ago we set out to address the gender bias in our industry and bring The Data School and ultimately the entire The Information Lab team towards a 50/50 gender split. Today the Data School UK team is now 45% female and the entire The Information Lab UK team is 35% female. While this exceeds the industry average we don’t believe the job is done and we continue to address the gender imbalance. It does however show that while a company may support equality across gender and ethnicity change does not come until more direct action is taken.
Events of the past few weeks have fuelled an internal discussion between all members of The Information Lab & Data School team. As a company we have endeavoured to provide a space for colleagues to speak out and be heard, and time for White colleagues to listen, learn & challenge their own biases. To date The Information Lab management has failed to do enough to actively prioritise and address the lack of diversity within the organisation. Once again we need to, and shall, take action.
While we believe our application process is open and doesn’t discriminate, our marketing of the roles available is too limited. Like many organisations we rely too heavily on university recruitment fairs as our primary source of applicants. Going forward we will seek a more diverse range of events and audiences to whom we can promote the benefits of joining The Data School. We also welcome and will seek out external organisations who would like to engage with us on this endeavour.
While we can promote applications to a more diverse audience, as of today we wouldn’t know if there is a positive impact on applications as we don’t ask for an applicant’s background information. This is now changing and we will ask applicants to complete an optional, unconnected, anonymous survey so that we can better monitor our application pipeline and make adjustments in the future to support more BAME applicants to reach the final interview stages and ultimately be hired into The Data School.
Finally we recognise that this should not be a one time activity in reaction to any one specific event. We do not wish to engage in performative activism only; rather we wish to enact permanent change in our company and our industry. We encourage our team internally to hold us accountable and challenge decisions and we welcome external stakeholders to engage with us on these issues.
At The Information Lab we believe Black Lives Matter. We believe in recognising our own faults and admitting to our failures. We believe in equity across gender, race, religion, sexuality, class and ability and we recognise that our challenges and our strengths lie in those intersections. We believe that a more diverse team helps people make sense of their data.
The Information Lab Management Team.