Why diversity and inclusion matters for talent attraction

Barbara Makura from Simply Business talks about why she was attracted to Simply Business due to its practical commitment to diversity and inclusion and how she is helping to continue that work.



Barbara Makura could have chosen to work for a large corporate,  but instead she chose a company which champions SMEs because of its  commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion [DEI].

Barbara joined business insurance provider Simply Business as a talent partner earlier this month. Her background is in the tech sector and she had had a number of interviews with employers in the sector before coming across Simply Business.

She says Simply Business’ inclusive culture made it stand out ‘massively’. “As a woman in tech I was seeing very similar people. It is very male and very white,” she says.

At other interviews she felt the approach to DEI was ‘supergeneric’.“Everyone says the right buzzwords, but what is being reflected back to you at interview – who is interviewing you, who is on the senior leadership team – is a lot different”.

Barbara saw that Simply Business was taking a different approach. The interview panel was diverse and, after doing more research, Barbara was impressed by the number of women on the management team. The business has also been quick to track gender pay gaps, address them, and continues to publish pay gap data on women and ethnic minorities on an annual basis. 30% of its tech team are women, which Barbara says is much better than she has seen elsewhere.

A continued focus on DEI

Having made good progress on DEI when it comes to hiring, Barbara says the company isn’t  resting on its laurels and continues to seek progression towards greater equality. To do so it is looking creatively at sourcing emerging talent.

Barbara was interested, for instance, in the number of apprenticeships the company offered – which can be worked flexibly – and how it paid for people from its contact centre to take coding lessons so they could move into a higher paid software job. Barbara found this a refreshing way to bring people from different backgrounds,especially women, into technology. She liked the sense that this is a company that invested heavily in its people.

The company also has flexible working at its core, with people given the freedom to work in the way that helps them get their job done most effectively, whilst maintaining a focus on in-person connections.

DEI came up in the discussions she had at interview, and Barbara has now been given the space to drive this forward in all of its forms, including targeting those from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds, and trans and non-binary people. She is using her personal networks such as Black Girls in Tech to explore meaningful ways of increasing diversity within the business.  She says that often tech companies complain that they cannot increase their diversity because of a lack of available talent – Barbara prefers to focus on what businesses can do better to reach out to people who might not have considered a career in tech.

Simply Business has also offered to pay for a DEI course Barbara had signed up to before she joined. “They don’t just talk about DEI; they put their money where their mouth is”.


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