Is Tech really all that ‘Good’?

It’s a momentum that’s really been gathering pace – ‘tech for good’ – people and technology making the world a better place. Tech can do incredible things and the innovation the industry brings is now tackling social and environmental issues the world over.

Making a difference
At the recent Tech for Good Awards the achievements were just mind-blowing. The Accessibility Award went to Navilens for empowering the visually impaired who have difficulty using traditional signage and struggle to be autonomous in unfamiliar environments.

The AI for Good Award went to Healx,  one of the only companies in the world using AI and machine learning for the specific aim of discovering and developing treatments for rare disease patients in need. Their AI-powered drug discovery platform Healnet, is the world’s most comprehensive AI platform for the prediction of rare disease treatments.

These are amazing innovations, and while the industry might not be able to replace that hug from your nearest and dearest or make video calls feel more human and friendly, someone somewhere in the industry might be trying to do just that!

So, the race for the latest innovation is on, but what about the people behind them? What would these businesses be without their skilled people? A successful business knows that technology is a big player, but it’s people that are at the true heart of a business, and to really succeed at the top you need to treat them well.

Burn out
The tech industry is one of the fastest growing across the world. It often brings with it long working hours, competitiveness, tight schedules, and heavy workloads.

While there are many great businesses working really hard to make sure their workers have a healthy work-life balance, ‘tech burnout’ is a growing issue.

In a survey of employees in the IT sector globally, IT recruiter Harvey Nash reported:

  • One in three reported that their mental health deteriorated during the pandemic.
  • One quarter is concerned about their mental health right now, in contrast to one in six before the pandemic.
  • They also found that women face more stress than men in the industry also reported that:

A recent report by BIMA (2019) highlighted that people working in the tech industry are staggeringly five times more likely to be depressed than the general population (data from over 3000 members of the UK technology community). 52% have experienced anxiety or depression at some point.

The figures are quite staggering, but as more and more businesses start up in this sector one thing that’s as important as succeeding in business is ensuring you are succeeding with your people. What does ‘tech for good’ mean when we apply it to our own staff?

Good work in good tech
You might think that well-paid jobs in the sector more than compensate for high pressure environment, but actually we know that staff are increasingly looking for a good lifestyle, they want to be treated fairly and with respect.

We also know that cities across the globe are now in competition with each other, and that talent is more flexible and able to work from wherever they feel is best suited for them. What can we do to make our region the best for the tech industry?

It’s as important when starting up or growing your business that you plan what ‘kind’ of business you want to be for your people. Do you want to be known as a success in technology with a wiped-out workforce with no loyalty or as the kind of business that succeeds in both areas, successful because you can attract and retain the best people, people that will pitch in when needed because you are a great boss? I know which one I’d rather be…

So how does a new or growing tech business become that business that everyone wants to work for? Simple right? You get your people-friendly policies and processes in place and become a business that provides ‘good work’.

Good work is work that as a minimum is secure, pays a decent wage, looks after its people through good times and bad, shapes, grows and molds talent in a positive and healthy environment and is fully inclusive for all to name a few.

One of the ways businesses can be recognised for or work towards being one that provides ‘good work’ is to sign up or work towards the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s Good Work Pledge. Our ‘5 Pillars of Good Practice’ clearly map what steps a business can take to become a really ‘good’ employer. The scheme is completely free of charge and by signing up you’ll help us build a ‘community of good work’ where members can network, learn and be part of a real change for good.

Our regions thriving tech, digital and creative industries is truly something to be proud of, it’s leading the way in economic bounce back and it’s creating the jobs of the future.

Dynamites! Help us build the thriving workforce of tomorrow and sign up for our Good Work Pledge.

Wishing everyone good luck in this year’s Dynamites Awards 2021

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