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Engineering sector launches InterEngineer following data showing more employees don’t bring their whole selves to work

Soft launch of InterEngineer, Sydney, February 2020

The network InterEngineer’s mission is to bring together the LGBTQIA+ community across the engineering profession.

25 November 2020 – A new network named InterEngineer was today formally launched by organisations across the engineering sector to support LGBTQIA+ professionals and allies in the workplace through networking, leadership, and advocacy for greater inclusion practices.

The network will aim to address alarming trends showcased in the 2020 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI)’s annual employee survey which identified a 19 percent decrease (compared to 2019) in the number of employees who were completely open about their diverse sexual orientation at work.

The report also found that the youngest employees are those most likely to not bring their whole selves to work and women are less likely to be out than men.

Research continually shows that employees who bring their authentic selves to work are more productive, engaged and creative so these trends sit uncomfortably against the growing area of workplace protection and celebration for LGBTIQA + people. Companies with robust diversity and inclusion culture are also shown to be more innovative and responsive to clients’ needs.

Keen to address this trend, representatives from 10 organisations in the engineering sector – Aurecon, Engineers Without Borders Australia, WSP, BHP, Energy Australia, Origin, SA Water, GHD, Structerre and ACT Water Authority – supported by engineering peak body Engineers Australia – created InterEngineer.

A network of LGBTQIA+ engineering professionals and allies from metro, regional & remote Australia, InterEngineer’s mission is to bring together the LGBTQIA+ community across the engineering profession.

“The idea came from personal experiences through my career journey with 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 is certainly a lot more work ahead,” said group co-founder, Matthew Tendam, Manager, Environment and Planning, Aurecon.

InterEngineer has evolved from an idea to a team of dedicated volunteers to bring together the various LGBTQIA+ groups across the engineering industry. The aim of InterEngineer is to increase visibility and advocacy for LGBTQIA+ people and groups currently in the industry and provide a conduit to engage with students, remote/regional populations and other underrepresented communities.

Engineers Australia Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Bronwyn Evans, said to achieve a culture of inclusivity, organisations need to support and inspire those who are underrepresented.

“Initiatives such as InterEngineer serve to strengthen the engineering profession and uplift the LGBTQI+ community,” said Dr. Evans.

“We want young people choosing a career to see engineering as a profession that will allow them to bring their true selves to work, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. That won’t happen unless organisations take meaningful and tangible steps to foster and celebrate diversity.”

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