Diversity and Inclusion in the quantum ecosphere is abysmal.
The numbers speak for themselves. In the private sector, only 1 in 54 of all applicants for female roles are female, while almost 80% of quantum companies do not have a senior female figure. There is no data on sexual orientation or ethnicity.
In an industry that is forecast to be worth $8.6bn in 2027, we cannot afford to miss out on talent. Especially when that industry is going to help solve some of the world’s most intractable environmental and medical problems. D&I is key to accelerating innovation and creativity, and avoiding group think, as evidenced in a report from The Inclusion Initiative at the London School of Economics.
Is there cause for hope? Definitely. Firstly, 62% of current employees in quantum want their employers to do more to increase diversity, according to recruitment firm Quantum Futures.
Secondly, two new organisations are focused on change. DiviQ was formed a few months ago, with industry luminaries like whurley and Denise Ruffner on board. Its mission is to foster a diverse quantum workforce through supporting those from underrepresented backgrounds with education, networking opportunities and mentorship. In an earlier incarnation, it paired over 400 quantum students, graduates and young professionals with mentors in the quantum space.
Meanwhile, The Inclusion Initiative at the London School of Economics, an institute that specialises in creating inclusive workplaces in financial and professional services through behavioural science and data, now has a new Deep Tech hub with a focus on quantum.
Thirdly, the quantum industry can learn from the finance industry, which is far from perfection, but has taken great strides in recruiting, retaining and promoting diverse staff, and changing the composition of its Boards.
In The City Quantum Summit Briefing on D&I, published earlier this month by The Inclusion Initiative (TII), participants in a brainstorming lunch at the Summit shared their advice from a lifetime of seeking to change their respective industries.
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