Construction industry rife with homophobia, survey finds

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

If you’re thinking of joining the construction industry, think again – as only 10% of gay employees would recommend it.

A new survey into the treatment of LGBT workers in the construction industry has revealed some shocking statistics – with 85% of workers claiming to have encountered homophobia at least once during their careers.

The survey was carried out by the Architects’ Journal, following a similar study they conducted in 2013 into the experiences of LGBT architects – which also revealed worrying levels of anti-gay behaviour in the workplace.

After collating the results of the earlier study, researchers realised that the problem was far greater than they had originally predicted – leading them to the investigate the construction industry as a whole.

The results are were as predicted, with 63% of gay employees having encountered homophobic comments in the workplace in the last 12 months.

This number rose to 85% for LGBT employees working for contracting firms.

Just 16% of gay employees believe the wider construction/property industry is inclusive of LGBT workers and up to a third feel that their sexuality creates barriers to career progression.

Some may argue that these results are hardly surprising, as, according to Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index for 2015 – a list of the UK’s 100 leading firms for LGBT equality – not a single construction firm is listed.

This year’s index includes several law and financial services firms, ten emergency services, energy companies and – for the first time in its history – each of the armed forces.

Stonewall’s Matteo Lissana said of the survey: “The construction and built environment sectors are historically very traditional, and changes in the industry take a long time to implement.

“The industry is still struggling with gender equality, which has remained the main focus of the sector for years.”

However, the charity believe that things may be set to improve.

“But for most industries things have moved forward. The [construction] sector must realise that this approach is outdated and that diversity does not operate in separate compartments.

“The sector is coming to realise now that the shrinking talent pool is setting firms further and further away from an extremely vast and diverse number of employees.”

Last week, PinkNews exclusively revealed that – although the Armed Forces may feature on Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index – the amount of LGBT recruits joining the army – or choosing to share their sexuality when they do – is zero.

Out of 10,590 new troops, less than five said they were ‘homosexual’, ‘other’ or ‘prefer not to say’.

While it was unclear whether the figure was zero, rounding rules in releases from the Ministry display figures of five or less as ‘∼’.