Delightful Ethical Digital

7th September 2022

Fat Beehive - Why we’re hosting our Black in Tech event

Marcus Watson

Marcus Watson Chief Executive

@Marcus_A_Watson Linkedin

The event on September 12th will provide Black Londoner's with practical support and advice to find a job in Tech

As the CEO of one of the UK’s most ethical digital agencies and, with 30 years of experience championing the business case for diversity,  I want to employ the very best people. People with different life experiences who bring diversity of thought to problem solving and innovation. 

As a company, we do as much as we can to break down barriers in recruitment while recognising there is always more we can do to tackle unconscious bias. However, if there are barriers that are preventing talented people from joining the tech workforce in the first place then no matter how good our recruitment process is we won’t be able to employ them.  

Of course, talent  and ability isn’t spread equally amongst everyone, however, it is not determined by skin colour or gender – so if 13% of the London workforce is Black and 45% are women then the London Tech workforce should be similar – but only 3% of the tech workforce is Black and 19% women. 

Employers can take Positive Action when groups are underrepresented and Fat Beehive has ambitious plans to support more women and Black people into tech.

This issue of Black marginalisation in our sector was highlighted in the recent report “Voices of the underrepresented”.  This research, conducted by the Runnymede Trust, was commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) to illustrate to employers the obstacles that stop young Black men in the workplace, and how they can address them. It focuses on the digital sector which sees significant underrepresentation of young Black men.  They are clear that employers in London’s digital sector can play a central role in challenging the fundamental inequalities that divide our city. They want us to break down the structural barriers that make it harder for young Black men to join the workforce, and more difficult to progress once they’re part of it. 


No one told me at school that coding was an option, but I trained myself and I’m now a Frontend Developer.

Chantal St Louis, Frontend Developer, Fat Beehive

As the Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard stated:

“Young Black men in our city are hugely driven and talented, yet they experience one of the highest unemployment rates in London – more than double that of their White male peers. It stands at a shocking 33 per cent compared to 15 per cent among young White men, and disparities persist across education levels. What is clear in this report is that structural barriers permeate the workplace – and London’s business leaders have a critical role to play in breaking them down.”

The report has a number of recommendations, most of which we are already doing, but having met and discussed some of the issues with Breakthrough and Beyond Recovery, we thought we could organise an event that addressed the first two recommendations.

  1. The sector needs to challenge negative perceptions and develop targeted interventions that reach out to Black Londoners and use Black role models to challenge the prevailing perceptions of the tech industry.
  2. We need to help ease the journey from education to employment, developing targeted recruitment support and career advice tailored to address barriers faced by Black Londoners.

Our event on Monday 12th September has four brilliant role models who now have careers in tech – none of them followed a ‘typical’ route and all have stories that are relatable to Black Londoners. The target audience is Black Londoners that may have never considered a career in tech and would like to hear from Amanul, Ahmed, Chantal and Daniel and ask them how they managed to develop a career in tech. Additionally, attendees will be able to hear from and gain information about organisations in London that offer training, guidance and advice on how to start working within the industry.

The event is free to attend and we will provide those that may be inspired to find out more with the opportunity of a free introductory workshop (held at our offices at a later date) on what it actually means to code. We also have a number of Code4000 scholarships which we can provide to those that want to go further and in some cases can provide a digital mentor.

As the Communication Director at Stonewall for nearly a decade, I was always clear that the single most important thing gay people could do to change employers’ attitudes on LGBT+ issues was to be visible. There is still a long way to go for the tech sector to be truly inclusive but the more Black people there are in tech the quicker we will see employers change – and right now there is a real skills shortage in the tech sector and a huge pool of untapped talent. 

If we can inspire and support a handful of Black Londoners to get jobs in tech, especially if they are currently unemployed or under-utilised (doing jobs below their skill level), then this, in turn, creates a richer and more inclusive sector and starts to break down the barriers that are currently preventing us recruiting the very best people.

I learnt coding in prison and am now continuing my training with Fat Beehive

Amanul Islam, Technical Support Executive, Fat Beehive

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