Equal Tech Report 2020/21


  • Universities, employers and charities reveal impact of pandemic on youth employability
  • Careers of students from low-income families disproportionately impacted by pandemic
  • Access to digital and the skills gap has widened in the UK

LONDON, 24 FEBRUARY 2022: An inaugural Equal Tech Report shows that the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated inequalities across youth employability and social mobility in the UK tech sector.  

Today, Sparta Global releases a report that combines insights from more than 160 organisations, UK universities, community partners and graduate groups around the impact of the pandemic on early careers. The report identifies the reduced employment opportunities for graduates over the past 24 months and how under-represented groups have been disproportionately affected.

78% of university professionals noticed a reduction in the number of graduates finding immediate employment during the Covid 19 outbreak. While all graduates were negatively impacted, 63% of respondents disclosed that students from low-income families were significantly more likely to lose learning opportunities, experience cancelled work experience and financial hardships as result of Covid when compared to their more privileged counterparts. 89% of university professionals surveyed stated that ensuring equal graduate employment opportunities will be a top priority for their universities going forward. Of these, 71% feel that Covid magnified existing conversations around socio-economic diversity in graduate careers, increasing the urgency of bespoke interventions.

Additionally, the report reveals how equal youth employability is becoming an important new focus area for corporate social responsibility. 62% of respondents said equal youth employability will be a business priority in the next 12 months, while 48% of people managers surveyed told us that early social mobility programmes already in place have directly increased the representation of talent from marginalised communities. 75% of employers surveyed have internal training for their hiring teams that focusses on social mobility, but only 66% tailor their attraction process to be inclusive of young people from under-served backgrounds. The level of commitment towards the equal youth employment agenda varies between industries, but the top five industries that have invested in internal social mobility training (consulting services, public sector, legal, technology and financial services) are the same industries that have been able to effectively pivot their recruitment efforts.

CEO and Co-Founder of Sparta Global, David Rai, says; “This report will shine a light on what can be learned from our shared experiences during Covid-19 and how employers, educators and community partners can better prioritise the people who will be transforming our businesses, communities and society in the future. Fair employment is critical to fostering mental wellbeing and hopefulness about the future, which is why it’s so important that communities rally together to support the economic resilience and mobility of low-income youth in particular. Only through collaboration can progress be made.”

The Equal Tech Report was developed in partnership with UK social mobility charity, Career Ready. With a donation being made to the charity for every survey completed during the report’s research phase.

On the collaborative research, Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, CEO at Career Ready, says; “It’s critical that we invest in young talent and ensure the COVID generation has the skills to succeed. As this report evidences, the pandemic has caused immense challenges for young people and put their education and future careers at risk, especially those from less advantaged backgrounds. We urge employers to help fix this by opening their doors to young people and investing in their energy and diverse talents through work experience opportunities.”

In addition to delivering key statistics across social mobility and early careers activity, the Equal Tech Report also features stories from the University of Greenwich and University of Bedfordshire, City and Guilds, Migrant Leaders, The Tech Talent Charter, and more.