The engineering industry is losing a potential £11.2 billion due to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) engineers remaining in the closet resulting in a 30 per cent reduction in productivity. Engineering is behind the curve in terms of equality and diversity for LGBT people. A culture of homophobia and transphobia has become embedded among workers and this is having a negative impact on both workers and productivity.
Engineering employers have the potential to generate an additional £27 billion per year from 2022 – equivalent to the cost of building 1,800 secondary schools or 110 new hospitals. If the UK is to benefit economically from this, we will need to meet the forecasted demand for 257,000 new vacancies in engineering enterprises in the same timescale. The lack of LGBT diversity as a result of latent homophobia is jeopardising this aim. Meanwhile, potential LGBT engineers are being pushed towards more inclusive sectors. A clear set of goals needs to be established and universally adopted by engineering companies and supported by institutes to ensure there is a reversal of the outdated attitudes preventing acceptance of LGBT people in engineering. Diversity and inclusion programmes, allies, LGBT role models, unconscious bias training and reverse mentoring should be implemented to ensure homophobia is eradicated from engineering.