Here at Ovo, Pride is so much more than just a month. All year round, we are doing everything we can to ensure that everybody in the workplace feels recognised, safe, and valued.
Research we published in June 2023 shows that LGBTIQ+ professionals are 20% less likely to consider working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Stem) or energy. In fact, LGBTIQ+ professionals are much more likely than people who identify as heterosexual to think there might be bias or discrimination in a Stem workplace (10% compared to 6%), with one in four LGBTIQ+ professionals who already work in Stem saying their sexual orientation or gender identity has held them back in the workplace. This rises to almost one in three (32%) for gay and lesbian professionals.
This is not good enough, and we’re determined to change it. To break the cycle of inequality, Stem workplaces can and should be doing more to make themselves more accessible. At Ovo, we have around 600 people, across eight Belonging Networks, actively helping us to advance inclusion within the workplace. The LGBTIQ+ network, called Pride in Ourselves, brings together colleagues looking to connect with others who have similar experiences, helping to reduce feelings of isolation, but also for those who want to be allies, creating a space to affect real change.
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I am particularly proud of our gender affirming surgery cover, which we were able to include within our health insurance policy last year as a result of listening to our trans colleagues.
During Pride month, we promote our Introduction to Trans Awareness and Creating an LGBTIQ+ inclusive workplace training, which has changed the language used in internal communications and business interactions, helping to make the workplace a more open and inclusive place, such as eliminating gendered language.
We like to have a bit of fun with it too, so this Pride month we wrapped multiple EV vans, used by our team out in the field to install smart technology in customers’ homes, in the rainbow flag. By doing this, we can spread our message of inclusivity and love across the UK.
Here, we all have a voice which is always heard. I am so proud of what we have achieved so far, and there is always further to go. We need all employers in Stem industries to make the same commitment to LGBTIQ+ inclusion, and to walk the talk not just for one day or one month, but every single day of the year.
Pride month is a wonderful universal celebration of inclusion, but why stop there?
Alessandro Storer is head of inclusion and belonging at Ovo