Stonewall shines light on LGBT issues in energy

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Richard Heap
April 20, 2018
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Stonewall shines light on LGBT issues in energy

What has 16 law firms, eight finance firms, and no energy firms?

And no, it’s not a joke. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans charity Stonewall published its annual report of the top 100 employers in the UK for supporting LGBT employees in February. This includes a host of names familiar in energy – Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Macquarie, Pinsent Masons and so on – but no energy firms.

Why is this the case? That’s a tough one to answer. Stonewall told me it doesn’t like to single out particular companies or sectors as needing improvement. What we know is that 434 companies with 3.9million employees took part in the research, but we don’t know for sure if energy firms didn’t apply, or did but fell short of the 100.

Either way, it tells us there’s room for improvement in the energy sector, and it’s in the interests of businesses to take this seriously. A sector can only be as good as the people it attracts, and so there must be an interest in this industry – including wind – in taking the steps needed to attract and retain the best people. Taking more steps to support LGBT people at work will only help with that.

And it’s not a small issue. We estimate there are around 72,000 LGBT people working in wind globally.

An annual review of jobs from the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2017 said there are 1.2million people working in the wind industry globally; and, if we look at recent studies, we see that 6% of Europeans identify as LGBT. If we combine these figures, we can get a sense of the size of this issue.

Likewise, US figures showed 0.3% identified as transgender, which would be 3,600 people working in wind. We can’t be sure on the numbers but that's not the point. The point is we can't ignore them.

And there's the anecdotal evidence too. I’ve been writing about the wind industry for four years and I’ve spoken to hundreds of people, but I find it surprising that I haven’t yet met anyone who feels happy to say, even in passing, they’re anything other than straight. Maybe I don’t make people feel comfortable enough to share that. Maybe we’d rather be talking about new wind turbines. But I look forward to the day when people feel happy to talk about their partner just like I talk about my wife and kids, if they want to do so.

Of course, that’s easy to say. The reality is more complicated.

We get some useful background from a Stonewall presentation at an inclusion and diversity event run by Energy UK last month. This identified that 24% people who work in energy had experienced negative comments or conduct from their colleagues about their sexuality, compared to 18% in all businesses. This also showed that firms in the energy sector have fewer visible LGBT role models than in other industries although, in wind, a LGBTQ networking event at next month's AWEA Windpower conference might help.

So what can companies do? Well, while Stonewall doesn’t like to single out energy in its top 100, it does share some useful figures on what the 434 companies that took part are doing to support LGBT employees. This could help to inspire others:

  • 79% said they had an LGBT employee network group
  • 73% use social media to support on LGBT issues
  • 65% worked with other organisations on LGBT equality
  • 46% supported employees to become visible role models
  • 43% had discussed LGBT equality with senior managers

You can look here for ideas more ideas along these lines. It’s also worth noting that the Energy UK event included insights from firms such as EDF, Innogy, Orsted and RWE about what they’re doing on equality and diversity generally. I hope in the coming years we get to see wind companies having an impact on the top 100. We may think of wind as progressive, but there’s much to be done.

What has 16 law firms, eight finance firms, and no energy firms?

And no, it’s not a joke. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans charity Stonewall published its annual report of the top 100 employers in the UK for supporting LGBT employees in February. This includes a host of names familiar in energy – Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Macquarie, Pinsent Masons and so on – but no energy firms.

Why is this the case? That’s a tough one to answer. Stonewall told me it doesn’t like to single out particular companies or sectors as needing improvement. What we know is that 434 companies with 3.9million employees took part in the research, but we don’t know for sure if energy firms didn’t apply, or did but fell short of the 100.

Either way, it tells us there’s room for improvement in the energy sector, and it’s in the interests of businesses to take this seriously. A sector can only be as good as the people it attracts, and so there must be an interest in this industry – including wind – in taking the steps needed to attract and retain the best people. Taking more steps to support LGBT people at work will only help with that.

And it’s not a small issue. We estimate there are around 72,000 LGBT people working in wind globally.

An annual review of jobs from the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2017 said there are 1.2million people working in the wind industry globally; and, if we look at recent studies, we see that 6% of Europeans identify as LGBT. If we combine these figures, we can get a sense of the size of this issue.

Likewise, US figures showed 0.3% identified as transgender, which would be 3,600 people working in wind. We can’t be sure on the numbers but that's not the point. The point is we can't ignore them.

And there's the anecdotal evidence too. I’ve been writing about the wind industry for four years and I’ve spoken to hundreds of people, but I find it surprising that I haven’t yet met anyone who feels happy to say, even in passing, they’re anything other than straight. Maybe I don’t make people feel comfortable enough to share that. Maybe we’d rather be talking about new wind turbines. But I look forward to the day when people feel happy to talk about their partner just like I talk about my wife and kids, if they want to do so.

Of course, that’s easy to say. The reality is more complicated.

We get some useful background from a Stonewall presentation at an inclusion and diversity event run by Energy UK last month. This identified that 24% people who work in energy had experienced negative comments or conduct from their colleagues about their sexuality, compared to 18% in all businesses. This also showed that firms in the energy sector have fewer visible LGBT role models than in other industries although, in wind, a LGBTQ networking event at next month's AWEA Windpower conference might help.

So what can companies do? Well, while Stonewall doesn’t like to single out energy in its top 100, it does share some useful figures on what the 434 companies that took part are doing to support LGBT employees. This could help to inspire others:

  • 79% said they had an LGBT employee network group
  • 73% use social media to support on LGBT issues
  • 65% worked with other organisations on LGBT equality
  • 46% supported employees to become visible role models
  • 43% had discussed LGBT equality with senior managers

You can look here for ideas more ideas along these lines. It’s also worth noting that the Energy UK event included insights from firms such as EDF, Innogy, Orsted and RWE about what they’re doing on equality and diversity generally. I hope in the coming years we get to see wind companies having an impact on the top 100. We may think of wind as progressive, but there’s much to be done.

What has 16 law firms, eight finance firms, and no energy firms?

And no, it’s not a joke. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans charity Stonewall published its annual report of the top 100 employers in the UK for supporting LGBT employees in February. This includes a host of names familiar in energy – Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Macquarie, Pinsent Masons and so on – but no energy firms.

Why is this the case? That’s a tough one to answer. Stonewall told me it doesn’t like to single out particular companies or sectors as needing improvement. What we know is that 434 companies with 3.9million employees took part in the research, but we don’t know for sure if energy firms didn’t apply, or did but fell short of the 100.

Either way, it tells us there’s room for improvement in the energy sector, and it’s in the interests of businesses to take this seriously. A sector can only be as good as the people it attracts, and so there must be an interest in this industry – including wind – in taking the steps needed to attract and retain the best people. Taking more steps to support LGBT people at work will only help with that.

And it’s not a small issue. We estimate there are around 72,000 LGBT people working in wind globally.

An annual review of jobs from the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2017 said there are 1.2million people working in the wind industry globally; and, if we look at recent studies, we see that 6% of Europeans identify as LGBT. If we combine these figures, we can get a sense of the size of this issue.

Likewise, US figures showed 0.3% identified as transgender, which would be 3,600 people working in wind. We can’t be sure on the numbers but that's not the point. The point is we can't ignore them.

And there's the anecdotal evidence too. I’ve been writing about the wind industry for four years and I’ve spoken to hundreds of people, but I find it surprising that I haven’t yet met anyone who feels happy to say, even in passing, they’re anything other than straight. Maybe I don’t make people feel comfortable enough to share that. Maybe we’d rather be talking about new wind turbines. But I look forward to the day when people feel happy to talk about their partner just like I talk about my wife and kids, if they want to do so.

Of course, that’s easy to say. The reality is more complicated.

We get some useful background from a Stonewall presentation at an inclusion and diversity event run by Energy UK last month. This identified that 24% people who work in energy had experienced negative comments or conduct from their colleagues about their sexuality, compared to 18% in all businesses. This also showed that firms in the energy sector have fewer visible LGBT role models than in other industries although, in wind, a LGBTQ networking event at next month's AWEA Windpower conference might help.

So what can companies do? Well, while Stonewall doesn’t like to single out energy in its top 100, it does share some useful figures on what the 434 companies that took part are doing to support LGBT employees. This could help to inspire others:

  • 79% said they had an LGBT employee network group
  • 73% use social media to support on LGBT issues
  • 65% worked with other organisations on LGBT equality
  • 46% supported employees to become visible role models
  • 43% had discussed LGBT equality with senior managers

You can look here for ideas more ideas along these lines. It’s also worth noting that the Energy UK event included insights from firms such as EDF, Innogy, Orsted and RWE about what they’re doing on equality and diversity generally. I hope in the coming years we get to see wind companies having an impact on the top 100. We may think of wind as progressive, but there’s much to be done.

What has 16 law firms, eight finance firms, and no energy firms?

And no, it’s not a joke. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans charity Stonewall published its annual report of the top 100 employers in the UK for supporting LGBT employees in February. This includes a host of names familiar in energy – Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Macquarie, Pinsent Masons and so on – but no energy firms.

Why is this the case? That’s a tough one to answer. Stonewall told me it doesn’t like to single out particular companies or sectors as needing improvement. What we know is that 434 companies with 3.9million employees took part in the research, but we don’t know for sure if energy firms didn’t apply, or did but fell short of the 100.

Either way, it tells us there’s room for improvement in the energy sector, and it’s in the interests of businesses to take this seriously. A sector can only be as good as the people it attracts, and so there must be an interest in this industry – including wind – in taking the steps needed to attract and retain the best people. Taking more steps to support LGBT people at work will only help with that.

And it’s not a small issue. We estimate there are around 72,000 LGBT people working in wind globally.

An annual review of jobs from the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2017 said there are 1.2million people working in the wind industry globally; and, if we look at recent studies, we see that 6% of Europeans identify as LGBT. If we combine these figures, we can get a sense of the size of this issue.

Likewise, US figures showed 0.3% identified as transgender, which would be 3,600 people working in wind. We can’t be sure on the numbers but that's not the point. The point is we can't ignore them.

And there's the anecdotal evidence too. I’ve been writing about the wind industry for four years and I’ve spoken to hundreds of people, but I find it surprising that I haven’t yet met anyone who feels happy to say, even in passing, they’re anything other than straight. Maybe I don’t make people feel comfortable enough to share that. Maybe we’d rather be talking about new wind turbines. But I look forward to the day when people feel happy to talk about their partner just like I talk about my wife and kids, if they want to do so.

Of course, that’s easy to say. The reality is more complicated.

We get some useful background from a Stonewall presentation at an inclusion and diversity event run by Energy UK last month. This identified that 24% people who work in energy had experienced negative comments or conduct from their colleagues about their sexuality, compared to 18% in all businesses. This also showed that firms in the energy sector have fewer visible LGBT role models than in other industries although, in wind, a LGBTQ networking event at next month's AWEA Windpower conference might help.

So what can companies do? Well, while Stonewall doesn’t like to single out energy in its top 100, it does share some useful figures on what the 434 companies that took part are doing to support LGBT employees. This could help to inspire others:

  • 79% said they had an LGBT employee network group
  • 73% use social media to support on LGBT issues
  • 65% worked with other organisations on LGBT equality
  • 46% supported employees to become visible role models
  • 43% had discussed LGBT equality with senior managers

You can look here for ideas more ideas along these lines. It’s also worth noting that the Energy UK event included insights from firms such as EDF, Innogy, Orsted and RWE about what they’re doing on equality and diversity generally. I hope in the coming years we get to see wind companies having an impact on the top 100. We may think of wind as progressive, but there’s much to be done.

What has 16 law firms, eight finance firms, and no energy firms?

And no, it’s not a joke. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans charity Stonewall published its annual report of the top 100 employers in the UK for supporting LGBT employees in February. This includes a host of names familiar in energy – Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Macquarie, Pinsent Masons and so on – but no energy firms.

Why is this the case? That’s a tough one to answer. Stonewall told me it doesn’t like to single out particular companies or sectors as needing improvement. What we know is that 434 companies with 3.9million employees took part in the research, but we don’t know for sure if energy firms didn’t apply, or did but fell short of the 100.

Either way, it tells us there’s room for improvement in the energy sector, and it’s in the interests of businesses to take this seriously. A sector can only be as good as the people it attracts, and so there must be an interest in this industry – including wind – in taking the steps needed to attract and retain the best people. Taking more steps to support LGBT people at work will only help with that.

And it’s not a small issue. We estimate there are around 72,000 LGBT people working in wind globally.

An annual review of jobs from the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2017 said there are 1.2million people working in the wind industry globally; and, if we look at recent studies, we see that 6% of Europeans identify as LGBT. If we combine these figures, we can get a sense of the size of this issue.

Likewise, US figures showed 0.3% identified as transgender, which would be 3,600 people working in wind. We can’t be sure on the numbers but that's not the point. The point is we can't ignore them.

And there's the anecdotal evidence too. I’ve been writing about the wind industry for four years and I’ve spoken to hundreds of people, but I find it surprising that I haven’t yet met anyone who feels happy to say, even in passing, they’re anything other than straight. Maybe I don’t make people feel comfortable enough to share that. Maybe we’d rather be talking about new wind turbines. But I look forward to the day when people feel happy to talk about their partner just like I talk about my wife and kids, if they want to do so.

Of course, that’s easy to say. The reality is more complicated.

We get some useful background from a Stonewall presentation at an inclusion and diversity event run by Energy UK last month. This identified that 24% people who work in energy had experienced negative comments or conduct from their colleagues about their sexuality, compared to 18% in all businesses. This also showed that firms in the energy sector have fewer visible LGBT role models than in other industries although, in wind, a LGBTQ networking event at next month's AWEA Windpower conference might help.

So what can companies do? Well, while Stonewall doesn’t like to single out energy in its top 100, it does share some useful figures on what the 434 companies that took part are doing to support LGBT employees. This could help to inspire others:

  • 79% said they had an LGBT employee network group
  • 73% use social media to support on LGBT issues
  • 65% worked with other organisations on LGBT equality
  • 46% supported employees to become visible role models
  • 43% had discussed LGBT equality with senior managers

You can look here for ideas more ideas along these lines. It’s also worth noting that the Energy UK event included insights from firms such as EDF, Innogy, Orsted and RWE about what they’re doing on equality and diversity generally. I hope in the coming years we get to see wind companies having an impact on the top 100. We may think of wind as progressive, but there’s much to be done.

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Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.