The LGBTQ+ Leaders Shaping Digital, Data and Technology in the UK
While great strides have been made to foster diversity and inclusion in the UK tech sector, there’s still considerable progress to be made when it comes to LGBTQ+ workers.
Frustratingly, a lack of statistics on LGBTQ+ representation in tech makes it difficult to get a handle on what improvements are being made and the rate at which they are happening. For example, recent data revealed that 19% of people in tech are women and 81% are men, but there were no figures for non-binary people, with many studies and surveys failing to gather intersectional data.
Looking across the broader field of STEM, research from the Institute of Physics found that 1.4% of those working across these disciplines identify as non-binary, with 83.5% identifying as heterosexual, 5.2% as Bi, 3.4% as gay, 2.5% stating “other” and 4.5% unaccounted for.
Casting the net wider, a 2021 study from the CIPD of more than 15,000 workers found that 40% of LGB+ and 55% of trans workers had experienced conflict in the workplace in the preceding 12 months, compared to just 29% of heterosexual and cisgender employees.
Such research suggests that representation, while still a significant issue, is not enough. LBGTQ+ employees must feel safe in the workplace, which requires organisations to invest time and resources to develop policies and processes that ensure these workers are supported and encouraged to be their authentic selves at work.
While we lack the data and statistics that enable us to form a more accurate picture of LBGTQ+ progress in the UK tech sector, many trailblazing individuals are not only helping to shape our technological landscape but are driving initiatives that make the industry an attractive and welcoming prospect for all. Here are just some of the tech professionals we want to celebrate for their innovative work in this area.
1. Sarah Rench
Sarah is the Data, Artificial Intelligence & Industry Solution Director at Avanade and the European Executive LGBT+ Sponsor of Avanade's LGBT+ network, Prism. Previously on the advisory board for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Artificial Intelligence, Sarah has led global teams to deliver intelligent automation across various industries, including the UK government. As European Executive LGBT+ Sponsor, she helped drive inclusion and diversity changes both inside and outside of the company and was awarded OUTstanding LGBT Executive Role Model in 2021.
In a recent Avanade blog, Sarah wrote: “Part of being a leader in Avanade involves ensuring that my colleagues, clients, and anyone I meet feel comfortable to be themselves. I want everyone to feel free to be open about their sexual orientation, if they want, but not be defined by it.”
2. Juergen Maier CBE
Former Chief Executive of Siemens UK, Juergen Maier, is Chair of the Digital Catapult, co-founder of vocL - a platform for responsible business voices, and Vice-Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. He advises tech start-ups and scale-up businesses, which form a vital part of the industrial ecosystem that's driving the green 4th industrial revolution. Maier has been open about his experiences as a gay man working as an engineer in a factory setting early in his career, speaking out against homophobia while championing diversity.
In a previous interview, he stated: “You become a better person when you work in a diverse group. You learn insights that you hadn’t thought about because people are coming at it from a different set of experiences.”
3. Gatonga Theuri
Gatonga is a change management expert who works as a Data and Analytics & E2E Commercial Transition Lead at Diageo and is a proud member of the company's Rainbow Network UK. His work includes driving awareness and self-declaration of gender identity and sexual orientation, and helping to create Diageo's global #MyNameIs campaign to raise awareness on the importance of pronouncing people's names correctly. Gatonga is also a member of the Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage employee network and an ally to the Spirited Women's Network, where he has led a series of discussions, including 'Then and Now: History of Queer Women in the UK and Africa' to educate colleagues about the community's history in the UK.
In an interview, Gatonga said: “I want to play a part in healing and self-acceptance; help our community members live better, more elevated and quality lives through self-love, self-knowledge, and self-care, which I think all begins with self-acceptance.”
4. Kim Warren
Kim is a Managing Consultant at Credera, a consulting firm focused on strategy, transformation, data, and technology. Here, Kim has led LGBT+ diversity with a strong focus on policy and trans inclusion and has founded the company's network for LGBT+ employees. In their position as Credera's diversity lead, Kim continues to work internationally to help drive a more intersectional approach to ED&I. Outside of Credera, Kim's work continues as a Director of Trans in the City, an open collaboration between global organisations, corporates and companies to further the inclusion of transgender, non-binary and gender diversity in business.
“There's still a lot of people who don't necessarily know, for example, any transgender people or don't really know much about transgender, especially in the context of the current media environment around it,” Kim said. “So it's important to have organisations that are capable of doing that kind of education piece."
5. Magda Markowska
Engineering graduate and experienced project manager Magda Markowska works as an Insights Team Manager at NielsenIQ, where she was actively involved in launching Pride, an LGBT+ and allies network in Europe. As Pride's European lead, Magda is a point of contact for members and provides feedback on Nielsen policies and services, suggesting changes to make them LGBT+ inclusive. Actively working toward creating a fully inclusive and friendly environment for LGBT+ people, Magda is passionate about bringing greater intersectionality into the agenda.
On her LinkedIn page, Magda writes: "I am an LGBT+ person, a woman, a stranger with half-shaved red hair that people often stare at and judge. I'm not going to change. I'm a survivor, and I'm proud of who I am. That's why I strongly support diversity and inclusion efforts and work actively in this field to make change."
Helping you transform your teamGlobal Resourcing partners with public sector and non-profit organisations across the UK, connecting them with the specialist diverse digital, data and tech experts required to deliver their strategic goals. To find out more about how we can solve your diversity and talent challenges within digital, data and technology transformation, contact us on +44 020 8253 1800 or send our team an email.