Companies across the engineering sector have launched a new LGBTIQ networking group with a really important goal in mind.
The new group, named InterEngineer, was launched last week to bring together the industry’s LGBTIQ professionals and allies.
Each year, the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) surveys employees and business on workplace inclusion.
However the 2020 survey found a 19% decrease from 2019 in the number of employees who were completely open about their sexuality at work.
The report found the youngest employees are those most likely to not bring their whole selves to the workplace.
According to the AWEI survey, women are also less likely to be out than men at work.
However research shows the employees who bring their authentic selves to work are more productive, engaged and creative.
So to address this, representatives from 10 organisations in the engineering sector came together to create InterEngineer.
One of the group’s co-founders, Matthew Tendam, is Manager of Environment and Planning at Aurecon, a Melbourne engineering consultancy.
“The idea came from personal experiences through my career journey,” he said.
“I’ve experienced varying levels of comfort with bringing my whole self to work.
“Over the past 20 years, diversity and inclusion has become a focus in the engineering industry but there’s certainly a lot more work ahead.
“InterEngineer evolved from an idea to a team of dedicated volunteers to bring together the various LGBTQIA+ groups across the engineering industry.
“The aim is to increase visibility and advocacy for LGBTQIA+ people and groups currently in the industry.
“[We want to] provide a conduit to engage with students, remote and regional populations and other underrepresented communities.”
InterEngineer networking group has the backing of Engineers Australia
The Representatives from Aurecon, Engineers Without Borders Australia, WSP, BHP, Energy Australia, Origin, SA Water, GHD Group, Structerre and ACT Water Authority all took part.
The new group also has the backing of peak body Engineers Australia.
Engineers Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans said groups like InterEngineer that uplift the LGBTIQ community also strengthen the entire profession.
“We want young people to see engineering as a profession that will allow them to bring their true selves to work, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said.
“That won’t happen unless organisations take meaningful and tangible steps to foster and celebrate diversity.”
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