LGBT+ in STEM is a New Zealand professional networking group and support platform for LGBTI.
19 October 2018 – Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon is striving to address the significant under-representation of LGBTI members in STEM through championing an external group as part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
LGBT+ in STEM is a New Zealand professional networking group and support platform for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) individuals that is aiming to improve the visibility of LGBTI in workplaces.
Aurecon geospatial consultant Callum Smith, who created the external group, explained that STEM fields were unfortunately known to be one of the less inclusive industries in regard to the LGBTI community, women, and culture.
“This has resulted in extremely poor retention rates of the LGBTI community in STEM. Diversity and inclusion create a work environment where innovation thrives, and creativity only happens when people can be their authentic selves at work, have fun, collaborate and be empowered to contribute new and exciting ideas,” Callum said.
The LGBT+ in STEM group recently held its first speaker event at Aurecon with Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Squadron Leader George Magdalinos and Ferran de Miguel Mercader, a Project Leader at Scion on liquid biofuels research, presenting their personal experiences throughout their careers.
“A key message from both speakers was the importance of improving visibility; championing LGBTI inclusion can be as small as correcting language or ensuring that we are open to everyone on our sexuality. If we can start with this, it will lead to a much larger impact on the industry as a whole,” says Callum.
Aurecon is committed to promoting active inclusion of LGBTI members of the community in an environment that enables diverse LGBTI and non-LGBTI people to interact comfortably and authentically, supported by the company to develop their full professional potential.
As a Participating Employer with Pride in Diversity in Australia, Aurecon is currently working towards accreditation for the Rainbow Tick in New Zealand. Rainbow Tick is a New Zealand organisation set up to sensitively evaluate other organisations on their level of LGBTI inclusion in five areas (policy, staff training, staff engagement and organisational support, external engagement and monitoring). After a successful evaluation, an organisation is given “The Rainbow Tick” is used as a confidence mark to showcase its commitment as a truly inclusive organisation to the LGBTI community.
Carl Devereux, Aurecon’s Regional Director – New Zealand says, “We believe that innovation is essential to creating a future ready organisation able to successfully navigate disruption. Our experience is that innovation requires diversity of thought and this only happens when difference is embraced across an organisation. Aurecon is delighted to be partnering with Rainbow Tick as part of our commitment to being a LGBTI inclusive organisation for our employees and clients.”
Fully supported and engaged by Aurecon’s leadership, there are a number of Aurecon initiatives to promote LGBTI inclusion. Some of these are:
Auditing and updating of human resources policies and practices to ensure LGBTI inclusion