The second annual survey held by industry-wide LGBTQ+ network Pride in Energy has found that 14% of respondents have witnessed or experienced discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation in the past year, compared to 10% in 2021. Much of this discrimination was particularly aimed at those with gender diversity.
There was also an observable disparity between individuals’ perceptions of their own companies and the wider industry with 90% of respondents considering their employers to provide an inclusive environment (rating it 6/10 or above) compared to just 57% thinking the same of the wider sector. Such a negative perception of the wider industry can create career mobility considerations for those impacted.
Role models, a key area for driving inclusivity, was another area Pride in Energy surveyed. 39% of respondents see visible allies in their companies’ executive and senior leadership with 40% seeing visible LGBTQ+ managers. However, 23% noted ‘none of the above’ with neither allies nor LGBTQ+ people visible in senior roles at all.
Anecdotal feedback from respondents coalesced around three key themes; that the overall trend of LGBTQ+ inclusion is a positive one but there is progress yet to be made, that companies with operations in countries with homophobic discrimination allowed by law face unique challenges in driving diversity and inclusion, and that customers have not been accepting of front-line staff from a number of different demographics, including LGBTQ+. Anonymous responses included:
“It feels like over the past 1-2 years there has been a lot more discussion, education and openness on these subjects. I'm sure some people will be further along in understanding and applying inclusion than others.”
“It’s the small things - it feels like gender [discussion] a decade ago”
There were also plenty of examples of good practice set out by respondents including:
- Proactively prepared HR policies & practices.
- Visible, supportive senior leadership responding well to constructive criticism from employees
- Ensuring that web content and software creates an inclusive environment for employees
Joshua Atkins, Founder and Chair of Pride in Energy said:
“This year’s research shows significant positive improvement in some areas but a disappointing drop in others. We’re seeing spill-over from a wider societal growth in LGBTQ+ discrimination into the workplace, making it incumbent for all of us as organisations and individuals to make the working environment as inclusive as possible.
The sector is facing unprecedented challenges and needs all its employees to be bringing their best to the workplace to deliver for consumer and climate alike.”
Notes to editor
- This has been shared by ENA on behalf of Pride in Energy
- 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.
- 184 people from the energy industry were surveyed.
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).