The first annual survey held by industry-wide LGBTQ+ network Pride in Energy has found that 35% of respondents have witnessed or experienced discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in the last five years. Much of this blatant discrimination was particularly aimed at those with gender diversity.
A connection can be drawn from what some respondents considered “legacy cultures in a male dominated industry” to LGBTQ+ people struggling in and ultimately leaving the energy industry.
However, there were also many positive views of the energy industry from respondents with 77% ranking their employer as 7/10 or higher for inclusivity which, when expanded, to the whole energy industry came down to 49%.
58% of LGBTQ+ respondents felt comfortable enough to be fully ‘out’ in the industry with qualitative feedback suggesting that this was particularly for those of LGB sexual orientations. 11% were not ‘out’ at all. In their report Inclusion at Work: Perspectives on LGBT+ working lives CIPD found that embedding a range of supportive policies and practices, such as diversity training, anti-discrimination policies and same-sex partner benefits, is positively linked to increased productivity and performance of employees.
Many respondents highlighted positive progress driven in part by this best practice and increased visibility of LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace with one stating that:
“There is definitely a stark contrast between when I first started working in the energy industry to now; It was a taboo subject and I was really worried about coming out. Now there is definitely a diverse and inclusive environment where colleagues can talk openly about themselves.”
There were also plenty of examples of good practice, particularly linked to newer members of the industry, including:
- Proactively prepared HR policies & practices.
- Visible, supportive senior leadership.
- Training, education, and strong LGBTQ+ networks.
- Normalising considerations for the LGBTQ+ community but being understanding of the uniqueness of individuals.
Joshua Atkins, Founder and Chair of Pride in Energy, said:
“As confronting as some of these figures might be, they’re also a sign of the change underway in the energy industry. With groups like our own cropping up across different companies there is clear progress towards equality and inclusion in the sector which is further evidenced by the figures in our survey.
“In short, there is lots that has been done, but there is still more to do and we’re here to support the organisations and individuals doing it.”
Notes to editors:
- Pride in Energy network is a diversity forum and network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) members of the energy industry and their allies.
- Pride in Energy was launched in 2017 in response to a need for an organisation to address LGBTQ+ issues in the energy industry.
- Pride in Energy is supported by Energy UK and will be represented at Energy UK’s forthcoming Inclusion, Equality and Diversity Conference on 28-29th April.
- 197 people from the energy industry were surveyed with the poll closing in March 2021.
- Media Contact: Joshua Atkins, Head of Public Affairs, Energy Networks Association, Joshua.Atkins@energynetworks.org Tel: +44 (0) 20 7706 5115 Mobile: +44 (0) 7436 142086