The Invisible Minority: Exploring the Lack of LGBTQ+ Diversity in the UK Tech Scene
The UK tech industry has made great strides in promoting diversity and inclusion in recent years, but there are still significant challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community. There is a significant lack of comprehensive statistical data on the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals in the UK tech industry. However, research and studies have shown that there are still substantial diversity and inclusion issues facing the community. Here are some statistics highlighting the biggest LGBTQ+ diversity issues in the UK tech industry:
Lack of representation
Even though there’s been noticeable efforts to increase diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ+ representation in the tech industry remains low. Many LGBTQ+ individuals still face barriers to entry and advancement in the industry, which has inevitably led to underrepresentation at all levels. According to a survey conducted by Hired, a job search platform, only 29% of LGBTQ+ tech workers feel they are well-represented in the industry. Additionally, a Stonewall report found that only 12% of LGBT graduates would consider a career in technology.
Discrimination and harassment
Discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ individuals in the tech industry are still prevalent. Many people report instances of exclusion, outright hostility and microaggressions in the workplace. This can create an unwelcoming toxic work environment that is unsafe for LGBTQ+ individuals. A study conducted by the TUC, found that 68% of LGBTQ+ workers have experienced some form of workplace harassment. And a further study by HRC found that 51% of LGBTQ+ tech workers have heard discriminatory comments at work.
Lack of policies and support
A further issue is that a lot of tech companies lack clear policies and support systems for LGBTQ+ employees. This can make it difficult for LGBTQ+ individuals to report discrimination and harassment or access resources like mental health support or diversity training. The same HRC study, found that 53% of LGBTQ+ tech workers believe their companies do not have adequate policies in place to protect them from discrimination.
Pay and career progression disparities
LGBTQ+ individuals in the tech industry may face pay and career progression disparities compared to their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. This can be due to lack of support, discrimination, or unconscious biases. Total Jobs found that, LGBTQ+ professionals earn an average of £6,703 less per year than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. Furthermore, a study by Hired found that LGBTQ+ individuals are less likely to be promoted into leadership positions.
Lack of intersectionality
While the LGBTQ+ community is diverse and intersectional, many diversity and inclusion initiatives in the tech industry focus solely on sexual orientation and gender identity, neglecting other important aspects of diversity like race, ethnicity, and disability. LGBTQ+ people of colour are more likely to face discrimination in the workplace than their white LGBTQ+ counterparts according to a report by the TUC. However, many diversity and inclusion initiatives in the tech industry focus solely on sexual orientation and gender identity, neglecting other important aspects of diversity like race, ethnicity, and disability.
These statistics demonstrate that there are still significant challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community in the UK tech industry. It is essential for tech companies to prioritize diversity and inclusion efforts and take concrete actions to address these issues.
So, what should companies do to become more inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals? There are several actions they can take:
Educating their employees
Many people will not be aware of the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace. Providing education and training on topics like gender identity and sexual orientation can help to raise awareness and promote understanding.
Creating an inclusive culture
Companies should strive to create a workplace culture that values and celebrates diversity. This can include things like establishing employee resource groups for LGBTQ+ individuals, hosting events and training sessions focused on diversity and inclusion, and actively promoting LGBTQ+ visibility and representation.
Reviewing HR practices and policies
Companies should actively review their HR policies and practices to make sure that they are inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals. This can include things like offering gender-neutral restrooms, providing health benefits that cover gender confirmation surgeries, and updating dress codes to be more inclusive.
Recruiting and retaining diverse talent
Companies should make a concerted effort to recruit and retain diverse talent, including LGBTQ+ individuals. This can involve partnering with LGBTQ+ organizations, attending career fairs and events focused on diversity, and creating mentorship programs to support the professional development of LGBTQ+ employees.
Holding leadership accountable
Companies should hold their leadership accountable for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This can involve setting diversity goals, regularly reviewing progress, and ensuring that all employees are held to the same standards when it comes to promoting a welcoming and inclusive work environment.
In saying that, there are many UK tech companies that are actively working to create a more LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace. These are some notable examples of businesses and the commitments they’ve made:
Google is well-known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and this extends to its UK offices. The company has an active LGBTQ+ employee group and regularly participates in Pride events across the country.
IBM UK has received recognition for its commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion, including being named a Top Global Employer for LGBT+ Inclusion by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The company offers a variety of LGBTQ+ employee resources, including a global LGBT Council and local LGBTQ+ networks.
Cisco UK has a robust diversity and inclusion program, which includes a focus on promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion. The company has an active LGBTQ+ employee network and participates in Pride events and other LGBTQ+ focused initiatives.
Salesforce UK has been recognized for its commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion, including being named a Top Global Employer for LGBT+ Inclusion by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The company has an active LGBTQ+ employee network and has taken steps to ensure that its benefits and policies are inclusive of LGBTQ+ employees.
Microsoft UK has an active LGBTQ+ employee group and has taken steps to promote diversity and inclusion across the company. This includes offering inclusive health benefits, providing resources for transgender employees, and participating in Pride events across the country.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Please let us know in the comments!