By Joanne Taaffe

Diversity makes business
sense for O2

Technology companies cannot afford to leave creating a more diverse workforce to chance, cautioned Jo Bertram, Telefonica O2 UK’s chief digital and strategy officer.

Speaking at 4YFN, Bertram said a diverse and inclusive workplace makes business sense for the operator, in part because it means Telefonica better represents the diversity of its customers.

“There should be no reason why we can’t find a diverse pool of candidates and it’s not just a question of gender,” said Bertram. But “because of [existing] imbalances we need to try harder. At O2 we push recruiters to come to us with a diverse shortlist”.

O2 undertakes several other initiatives to build a workforce that reflects the make-up of society.

“We foster diversity in our apprenticeship and graduate schemes. Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) is important … and more than 50 per cent of the applications are female.”

When considering candidates who may have lacked opportunities, “it’s important to think about the potential rather than proven experience”, advised Bertram.

Telefonica’s start-up accelerator Wayra also helps drive inclusion, with women leading 45 per cent of the start-ups.

“It’s a really diverse pool of founders and teams … [and shows] how well Wayra can connect in the community,” said Bertram.