Technology whistleblowers are being driven by scandals

By Lucy Ingham

Scandals within a company or the wider industry are driving professionals to become technology whistleblowers, according to research by Indeed.

In a survey of technology professionals by the job site, 46.2% of workers said they would be more likely to become whistleblowers following a scandal.

Reporting wrongdoing isn’t the only behaviour that many tech workers would turn to in the wake of a scandal. 23.6% say they would be prepared to quit their job if a scandal similar to those that have dominated the tech industry in the last year impacted their own company.

Notably, this attitude skews towards younger tech professionals. 36.1% of those under 24 said they would leave their job if a scandal occurred, while just 9.2% of those over 45 would do the same. Around a quarter, 24.8%, of those between 25 and 44 would quit in such circumstances.

Technology whistleblowers a growing concern for businesses

The technology industry has been hit by a number of high-profile scandals, from significant data breaches and accusations of data mismanagement, such as the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, to accusations of sexual harassment, such as those that dogged Uber.

But it is not just the headline-grabbing scandals. 19.8% of those interviewed said they had worked at a company involved in a scandal, of which just over half (51.5%) had changed jobs since.

Given that individuals are more likely to become technology whistleblowers in the wake of such scandals, businesses should be careful of the potential reputational damage their employees can affect.

It also underlines the fact that technology workers are motivated by more than just money – despite the lucrative salaries available within the field.

“The UK tech sector has continued to boom in recent years and now employs more than 2 million people making it a magnet for talent, investment and innovation. The study highlights the crucial role employer brand and transparency play to appeal to a growing number of workers who are willing to turn their backs on the sector and vote with their feet if their employer acts unethically,” said Bill Richards, UK managing director of Indeed.

“The success of the UK – and specifically London – as a tech hub means companies can attract some of the brightest minds on the planet, but fewer are tempted by commercial success alone and as our results show more are now motivated by the pursuit of being a good digital citizen and doing what’s right.”

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