As the Ministry of Defence (MoD) works towards becoming a diverse organisation, tech is proving to be a vital key.
The private sector has taken the lead in recognising the benefits of diversity and taking action, followed by the public sector. Defence has been one of the last to recognise the connection between diversity and digital transformation, but it’s now undergoing a diversity revolution, led by role models like Clare Cameron, Director of Defence Innovation. Last September, it launched the Women in Defence Charter, aimed at getting more women into senior leadership roles.
The MoD’s remit is more than just military, covering humanitarian aid and disaster relief as well as anti-piracy and anti-smuggling operations. It’s heavily dependent on tech, and on a web of partnerships across the private and public sectors, including academia, making it an industry where gender diversity is particularly relevant. With tech evolving at ever-faster speeds, the increased innovation that comes with gender diversity is sorely needed.
However, to achieve this, the MoD has major gaps to plug in both innovation and diversity. Because of crossovers with other sectors, tech innovation is particularly vital for Defence, for example in the realm of cybersecurity.
So what can be done to improve diversity? First, the MoD needs to focus on attracting talented women and making it clear that many of the technical roles available don’t require Defence experience and can easily be done on a flexible schedule for those with childcare responsibilities. The language in job ads must be examined to ensure that it doesn’t covertly or accidentally imply that the best person for the job is a masculine man.
It’s also vital to start young by working with schools and heading off misconceptions about STEM subjects before they sink in. The Government must provide more support for promising girl students in STEM.
Talent retention is also an important consideration. Senior leaders, regardless of gender, need to set an example by working flexibly so that others feel empowered to do the same. With women still carrying most of the responsibility for childcare and eldercare in the UK, it’s going to be necessary to make flexible working the norm to achieve anything like true equality.
With tech moving at a breakneck pace, and malicious actors taking full advantage of this, the MoD needs to harness the innovative power of diversity in order to save lives.
Take a look at the positions we are currently hiring for, within the Aerospace and Defence sector.