Underrepresentation of LGBTQ+ Community in UK's Built Environment Sector, Diversity Survey Reveals

Monday, January 22, 2024

A comprehensive diversity survey in the UK's built environment sector, covering over 526,000 individuals, has revealed significant underrepresentation and challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Whilst the survey highlighted progress in some areas of diversity, the findings related to the LGBTQ+ community are particularly concerning and indicative of broader inclusivity issues within the industry.

Key Observations from the Survey:

  • LGBTQ+ Community Representation: Alarmingly, only 2.04% of employees in the sector identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community. This figure is notably below the Office for National Statistics (ONS) UK population average, pointing towards potential challenges in inclusivity and acceptance within the sector.
  • Progress in Gender Diversity: The survey observed a positive increase in the number of women in the industry, reflecting strides towards gender diversity.
  • Ethnic Minorities Representation: A slight decrease in the representation of ethnic minority groups was recorded, with the figure standing at 13.6%, 5% below the UK population average.
  • Hiring Disparities: The survey also shed light on the significant disparities in the hiring process, particularly affecting ethnic minority groups. This raises questions about the inclusivity of recruitment practices for all underrepresented groups, including the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Data Gaps: The survey highlighted persistent gaps in data, particularly around disability. This lack of comprehensive data makes it challenging to fully understand and address the intersectional challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals who may also belong to other underrepresented groups.

Implications for the Sector:

The underrepresentation of the LGBTQ+ community in the built environment sector calls for a critical reassessment of current workplace cultures and practices. It is imperative for industry leaders to adopt and implement more inclusive policies and practices. Creating a supportive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ individuals is not just a matter of social responsibility but also essential for the growth and innovation of the sector.

Moving Forward:

To address these challenges, the sector must engage in active dialogue and implement targeted strategies to promote inclusivity. This includes enhancing awareness and education on LGBTQ+ issues, ensuring equitable hiring and promotional practices, and providing a supportive network for LGBTQ+ employees.

Whilst the survey indicates progress in some areas of diversity within the UK's built environment sector, it also highlights the significant underrepresentation and challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. The findings underscore the need for a concerted effort to create a more inclusive and diverse industry, where every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, is valued and has the opportunity to succeed