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Promoting inclusion: LGBTQ+ in the STEM sector

4 mins

In recent years, the need for safe and diverse environments in all areas of life has increas...

In recent years, the need for safe and diverse environments in all areas of life has increased significantly. Private companies as well as educational institutions, government agencies and the media are increasingly recognising the importance of counteracting discrimination against minorities, including the LGBTQ+ community, and ensuring equality.

Despite these positive developments, LGBTQ+ people in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) sector continue to face significant challenges. Research shows that LGBTQ+ individuals are 20% less represented in these professions than the demographic average. In addition, LGBTQ+ professionals in STEM report more frequent professional barriers, discrimination and lack of recognition compared to their non-LGBTQ+ peers.

In this article, you will learn what we can all do together to improve this situation in the long term and attract and retain more LGBTQ+ professionals in our organisations. 

Current challenges for LGBTQ+ in STEM

A significant proportion of LGBTQ+ professionals in STEM do not feel comfortable in the work environment. More than 40% of these individuals are not out at work, indicating an unsafe and often hostile work environment. These unsafe conditions contribute to the fact that LGBTQ+ people are less likely to stay in STEM fields and attain degrees in these disciplines.

Of particular concern are the reports of harassment: 50% of transgender and non-binary individuals in the U.S. reported experiencing harassment in their work environment. These negative experiences often result in LGBTQ+ professionals changing jobs or leaving the industry altogether.

The importance of an LGBTQ+ friendly work environment

An LGBTQ+ friendly working environment is not only morally and ethically right, but also offers significant benefits for organisations. Research shows that 49% of LGBTQ+ professionals would not work in an organisation that did not offer LGBTQ+ friendly benefits. Furthermore, 66% of LGBTQ+ Gen Z workers would leave a job if they could not feel safe there.

Creating an inclusive workplace not only promotes employee wellbeing and satisfaction, but also increases an organisation's innovation and productivity. Diverse teams bring different perspectives and ideas to the table, leading to more creative and effective solutions.

Measures to create an LGBTQ+ friendly working environment

  • Use inclusive language: Organisations should promote inclusive language that respects all gender identities and sexual orientations.
  • Develop support programmes: Programmes that support LGBTQ+ employees, such as mentoring programmes and employee resource groups, can be a great help.
  • Offer LGBTQ+ friendly benefits: This includes, for example, health benefits that also cover same-sex partners and transition support for transgender employees.
  • No tokenism: It is important not to use LGBTQ+ employees as a figurehead for diversity, but to seriously recognise and promote their contributions and talents.
  • Admitting mistakes and learning: Companies should be open to feedback and be willing to learn from their mistakes in order to create a truly inclusive culture.
  • Public engagement: Companies should speak out publicly on LGBTQ+ issues and show their support for the community.

Pride Month 2024

Celebrated every year in June, Pride Month is a time when the LGBTQ+ community celebrates its identity, culture and achievements and draws attention to the ongoing struggles for equality and acceptance. During this month, numerous events such as parades, festivals and educational initiatives take place around the world, both honouring the history of the LGBTQ+ movement and promoting solidarity and support for LGBTQ+ rights. Companies, educational institutions and organisations also use Pride Month to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion and to support their LGBTQ+ employees and customers. The visibility and recognition that Pride Month provides are crucial to promoting a more inclusive and equitable social environment. Companies should actively participate in Pride Month by attending events, supporting LGBTQ+ initiatives and taking steps to create an LGBTQ+ friendly work environment.


Promoting inclusion and diversity in the STEM sector is crucial for the long-term success and sustainability of companies. Creating an LGBTQ+ friendly work environment requires dedicated effort and continuous improvement. By taking these steps, organisations can not only improve the lives of their LGBTQ+ employees, but also benefit from the diverse perspectives and innovative ideas that a diverse workforce brings.

If you need help improving your ED&I recruitment strategy, contact us. As a recruitment company, we not only offer tailored recruitment solutions, but also specialised advice to ensure your company creates an inclusive and welcoming work environment for all employees. Let's work together to optimise your recruitment strategies and build a strong, diverse team.

Contact us now to learn more.