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Poll results - Should engineering companies be providing more LGBT+ support?

30/07/2019
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Last week we asked EngineeringPro readers to have your say on the steps that engineering companies should be taking to improve equality for LGBT+ workers. Despite requests for all jobs to be based on the individuals professional qualifications and credentials, the percentage of LGBT+ workers in engineering roles is still significantly lower than the national average. Further - a recent study demonstrated that 30% of LGBT+ young people in the UK would not career a STEM career for fear of bullying and discrimination.

We wanted to get the views of the EngineeringPro community this issue and what could be done to overcome it. We got a good mix of views on our suggested solutions, but the debate was largely led by readers own comments. Here are the results:

65% of engineeringpro readers voted "other" - find out their suggestions below

From our three prime solutions - based on leading suggestions taken from a government report titled “Engineering Action: Tackling Homophobia in Engineering” published in 2015 - the one that received the most votes was for companies to provide “Better commitment to internal diversity and inclusion policies”.

Inclusion policies have been proved to be effective within companies - as we reported two weeks ago, BP’s internal training programs and dedication to creating a safe, inclusive work environment led to them being listed as one of Stonewall’s Top Global Employers three years running. Other companies in this field are taking up this responsibility as well by providing their own internal policy commitments.

Equal votes were received for the other two suggestions - “More training programs dedicated to sexual orientation and gender identity topics, including unconscious bias training” and “Better options for reporting bullying”. These points, however, were further reinforced by the most popular answer, “other”, which gave respondents the chance to make their own suggestions. Several readers used this as an opportunity to suggest “all of the above” - signalling that each of the three suggested options is a viable and equal choice that companies should be doing more of.

In fact “all of the above” actually received more votes than any other option.

The debate showed some strong views, suggesting that this complex issue is far from being resolved
(Image via Claudio Schwarz / unsplash)

There were other suggestions as well. Many felt that it wasn’t the responsibility of engineering companies to engage in this. One suggestion said “corporations should not push the subject, they should remain neutral and open but not try to influence employees beliefs. As they may inadvertently offend another group whose beliefs are not represented”, while another said “None. Engineering and science should never partake in political agendas”.

In the comments section, the same point was raised by commentor Don, who said “being part of this group should NOT even matter, as they would be hired based on their CREDENTIALS...I suggest the LGBT status shouldn't even be asked.”

Don also suggested that “We are already bombarded constantly in media by LGBT,” - a point that was countered by fellow commentor Mauro who said “Yes we are and media should keep going on: in an Industry were we are still fighting for the parity between man and women into Boards and management roles and work places, I wonder how it could be disputed that LGBT+ personnel does not require special attention.”

Commentor Rob had the final say with “engineering companies should be providing more LGBT+ support. But it should be at least equal to the support companies provide to any / all minority groups. The more companies actively promote anti-discrimination, tolerance, and inclusiveness the sooner society in general will do the same."

The full comments from each can be found in the comment section of last week’s poll. On a final note, we should mention that we did receive some unprintable responses in the poll and the comments section. More than anything this highlights that despite several positive advances in the industry, there is still a long way to go.

The debate goes on

Do you agree with the views and comments of other EngineeringPro readers, or have your opinions not yet been reflected? Have your say on LGBT+ support and inclusivity among engineering companies in the comments.

In this week’s poll, we’re asking how young people can be encouraged to join the engineering community. Have your say now.

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Poll results - Should engineering companies be providing more LGBT+ support? - Time to read 4 min
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