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Updates from Team Bulb

People Matter: an update on diversity at Bulb

Illustration of a team member at Bulb tapping away on their computer

Since our last update, Team Bulb has grown to nearly 800 people across four countries. Here, we share our full diversity statistics, along with the work we’ve been doing this year to improve the experience at Bulb for everyone in the team.

Having a diverse team that reflects our member base means we’re better able to understand our members’ needs. This helps us to make good decisions with the products and services we’re building, bringing us closer to achieving our mission of helping people to lower their bills and their carbon emissions.

In this update, we’re sharing our full diversity statistics as of July. We’ll show how we’re doing compared to the UK workforce as a whole, and where we can, we’ll show how the make up of the team has changed over time.

Sharing our progress

The last few months have been busy, and we’ve welcomed 155 new members to the team remotely. Before we get stuck into the numbers, we thought we’d share some of the things we’ve been doing to improve the experience of working at Bulb for everyone in the team. We hope some of these might be useful for others.

Looking after the mental health of our team

As we all know, lockdown was hard on lots of people. In Bulb’s case, a number of our team live alone or in shared households, far from their families, and they’re sometimes dealing with members in difficult and distressing circumstances. So in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we put a network of independent services in place so that our team can access exactly the kind of support they might need. These include:

  • Access to Unmind, a platform that helps people to track their mental health and get exercises and techniques to help preserve it

  • Access to virtual therapy sessions via Spill

  • Short-term intervention focused therapies with a clinical psychologist via HelloSelf

  • And access to unlimited talking therapies and in-patient and out-patient psychiatric services via our health insurance

The death of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests have had a huge impact around the world and within the Bulb community. We shared Bulb’s public response across social media, including a list of useful resources for anyone looking to learn more put together by our team. Our diversity and inclusion (d+i) team also hosted an event, attended by 178 team members, where we invited people to openly share experiences of race and racism, and hear more on what Bulb can do to do better. Bulb Texas closed their phone lines to create some time for the team to share their thoughts together. These conversations have suggested new ways we can work to reduce bias and balance the opportunities available to every team member at Bulb.

Piloting mentoring for women at Bulb

We’re also nearing the end of a pilot programme to provide additional support to women in their careers at Bulb. This is a 12 week trial where 16 pairs met regularly for mentoring conversations focusing on 3 developmental goals. If the feedback from the trial is positive, we plan to extend the programme for team members from other under-represented groups.

Bulb's full diversity statistics, July 2020

While hiring has slowed since 2019, we’re seeing some encouraging trends in our diversity data as we continue to grow.

Since March 2019, we've seen a 38% increase in applicants from non Russell-Group universities for roles in our Member Experience team. 43% of successful applicants are now women (up from 30%) and 30% are BAME (up from 16%). We’ve worked hard to improve representation in this team by making changes to our hiring process. We’ve focused extra energy here because as an entry-level role, we don’t inherit any bias that might exist in the pool of people we’re hiring from. We want to make sure all of these individuals are able to achieve their goals at Bulb.

It’ll take time for changes like these to be visible in the data for all of Team Bulb, but we’re pleased to share this progress. So, let’s take a look at the full team statistics for July 2020.

Bulb is a young team

The average age at Bulb is 26.9. This has increased by 1.1 years since our last update.

A graph showing the proportion of team members aged 35 and under since 2018. Age diversity is unchanged.
Source: Bulb team diversity survey
Chart showing the proportion of UK workers over 35. Bulb under-represents people over 35.
Source: 2011 London Census data, Bulb team diversity survey

We’re making progress on gender diversity

40% of team members identify as female, a slight increase from November 2019. In engineering this decreases to 22%. This is an industry wide trend - in the UK only 16% of tech roles are held by women. 1% of the team identify as non-binary or with another preferred description.

Chart showing the gender breakdown of the Bulb team over time.
Notes: Gender self reported; respondents were able to answer ‘other preferred description.’ Source: Bulb team diversity survey
Chart showing gender diversity in the UK workforce. Bulb has 5% more men compared to the UK workforce
Notes: Gender self reported, respondents were able to answer ‘other preferred description’. Source: 2011 London Census data, Bulb team diversity survey

Bulb over-represents BAME people compared to the UK

76% of the Bulb team identify as white, compared to 73% in November 2019. We over-represent BAME people compared to national data, but we also compare our statistics with London because over 90% of the Bulb team are based in the city. Through this lens, we actually under-represent BAME people.

Chart showing ethnic diversity has fallen slightly at Bulb since November 2019
Notes: Ethnicity self reported. Source: Bulb team diversity survey
Chart showing that Bulb under-represents BAME people compared to London
Notes: Ethnicity self reported. Source: London Census data 2011, Bulb team diversity survey

Bulb has a large LGBTQIA community

16% of people at Bulb identify as LGBTQIA. This has remained unchanged since November 2019.

Chart showing the size of the LGBTQIA community at Bulb has stayed the same since November 2019
Notes: Sexuality self reported. Source: Bulb team diversity survey
Chart showing that Bulb over-represents LGBTQIA people compared to the UK
Notes: Sexuality self reported. Source: Office for National Statistics, Bulb team diversity survey

People with disabilities are currently under-represented at Bulb

4% of the team at Bulb identify as having a disability, and 3% prefer not to say. This is much lower than the UK working population, where 16% have a disability. We’ve now changed the way we ask this question, making the definition of a disability clearer so that anybody at Bulb affected by chronic physical or mental health conditions will be visible in these figures going forwards.

Chart showing that Bulb has made slight progress on increasing representation of people with disabilities
Notes: Disability self reported. Source: Bulb team diversity survey
Chart showing Bulb under-represents people with disabilities compared to the UK workforce
Notes: Disability self reported. Source: Office for National Statistics, Bulb team diversity survey

There aren’t many parents in Team Bulb

3% of the Bulb team are primary carers for children under the age of 18, compared to 35% of the UK. We think the low proportion of parents reflects our young team.

Chart showing the number of parents at Bulb has fallen slightly since November 2019
Notes: Family make-up self reported; a child is a person under the age of 18. Source: Bulb team diversity survey
Chart showing Bulb under-represents parents compared to the UK workforce
Notes: Family make-up self reported; a child is a person under the age of 18. Source: Office for National Statistics, Bulb team diversity survey

Educational diversity is continuing to improve

Educational background is a good indicator for socio-economic diversity. We report on this measure because we’ve over-indexed on team members who attended an independent or fee-paying school since Bulb began back in 2015. Today, 20% of the team who were educated within the UK attended an independent or fee paying school. This compares to 13% nationally.

Chart showing that the diversity of educational background is increasing at Bulb
Notes: School background self reported. Source: Bulb team diversity survey
Chart showing that Bulb still over-represents people who were privately educated in the UK
Notes: School background self reported. Source: Department of Education, Bulb team diversity survey

35% of the Bulb team are the first generation in their family to attend university, which is 5% higher than in November 2019. We’ve also seen the proportion of people who didn’t attend university increasing. This year we took on our first cohort of apprentices through our partnership with Whitehat. 70% of them have gone on to accept permanent roles at Bulb.

Chart showing that the number of people who are the first generation to attend university has improved
Notes: University education self reported. Source: Bulb team diversity survey
Chart showing that compared to the UK workforce, Bulb under-represents people who were the first generation to attend university
Notes: University education self reported. Source: Department of Education, Bulb team diversity survey

There is a variety of religious belief at Bulb

The proportion of our team who identify as having no religion or belief has increased to 67%. This is compared to only 25% in the UK and 64% at Bulb in November 2019. We’ve mirrored how data is grouped and labelled in the census. So 9% of Team Bulb identify as Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist and other religious minorities.

Chart showing the proportion of people at Bulb with no religion or belief has increased
Notes: Religion self reported. Source: Bulb team diversity survey
Chart showing Bulb over-represents people with no religion of belief, compared to the UK
Notes: Religion self reported. Source: Office of National Statistics, Bulb team diversity survey

We've started measuring neurodiversity 

Neurodiversity refers to variation in human minds, brains and neurocognitive functioning. People with conditions like dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD and ASD often identify as neurodiverse. We’ve started asking our team members to identify whether they’re neurodiverse or neurotypical. Neurodiversity and cognitive diversity in the team will mean we approach problems differently, helping us to innovate. 14% of people at Bulb identify as neurodiverse, compared to 15% nationally.

Chart showing that Bulb slightly under-represents neurodiverse people
Notes: Neurodiversity self reported. Source: Bulb team diversity survey

Moving in the right direction

As acknowledgment for the work we’ve been doing to improve diversity and inclusion, we were shortlisted by the Inclusive Tech Alliance for the category of Diversity and Inclusion Team of the Year (2019).

We’re working hard to improve representation in our team and we’ll continue to publish our diversity statistics to be transparent about the progress we’re making.


As ever, we’d love to know your thoughts on this topic. What else could we be doing to make Bulb a diverse and inclusive place to be? Join the discussion in the Bulb community.