Skanska UK Executive Vice President Katy Dowding talks about the meaning of Pride and our ongoing journey to being a more inclusive employer.
June 1 marks the beginning of Pride month which celebrates acceptance and equality, as well as raising awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.
It’s about being proud and accepted for who you are, no matter which gender you are and who you love.
In an ideal world there should be no need to have a specific month in the calendar to raise awareness about the importance of accepting those in the LGBTQ+ community. It should be the way things are done, always.
But we know that's not the way it is at the moment - and that's especially true in construction. A Construction News survey found that 54% of people were not comfortable about being openly LGBTQ+ on site. This has got to change, enabling everyone to bring their whole selves to work should be standard for all organisations in every sector.
Last year, we commissioned in-depth research looking at the ways that people from a range of different groups and backgrounds experience our working culture within Skanska. Some of these results made for challenging reading and made it clear that we have some distance to go before we become a truly inclusive employer for everyone.
Achieving this will take time, but here are a few of the steps we’re taking on that journey.
- Over 125 people took part in a ‘Conversation about LGBTQ+’ session last year, the majority from senior management. These sessions continue to run for all leadership teams throughout the business this year.
- We have an active LGBTQ+ network of LGBTQ+ people and allies, as well as five other employee networks.
- Our senior management team is participating in a co-mentoring programme with members of our employee networks, including those in the LGBTQ+ community.
- We are running company-wide inclusion stand-ups and Active Bystander training to dedicate time to discussing and upskilling in these topics in all teams across the business.
Skanska’s values to care for life and be better together reflect what Pride is all about. At Skanska, we are determined to work towards a culture where everyone is accepted for who they are – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
In today’s society and in our own workplace we know this doesn’t always happen – and this needs to change. We are taking steps to make this change.