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Bovis Homes COO: Industry has a 'long way to go' on LGBT

Mr Carnegie, who has been with the company for 17 years and became COO in January, said the industry is “very male, pale and stale” and “the workforce does not reflect the wider community”. 

“It is incumbent on those who are leaders of business to ensure that we move with society,” he said.

“Promoting the right values from the top is desperately important. We have an obligation to reach out to minorities, to help make our sector reflective of the wider community in which we operate in, which it is not.”

Mr Carnegie said that as a gay man in a senior management role, he feels an obligation to “be more visible that I might want to be”.

“When I go to industry events, I have always made a point of ensuring that Michael, my husband, is there. I am conscious of the fact that we are very much in the minority,” he said.

Speaking from personal experience, Mr Carnegie said that coming out at work was “a doddle” in comparison to coming out to his family and friends.

He said he had been “very fortunate” that he hadn’t felt the need to hide and called for more people who have had similar experiences to speak up. 

However, he said he was “not quite as open as I might have been” at the start of his career. 

“Occasionally, I felt uncomfortable and I would feel unsettled if somebody asked me, ‘Are you gay?’” he said.

“I would never have hidden it. But I wouldn’t necessarily have offered it up.”

Mr Carnegie added that the industry has an “obligation not to allow prejudice to perpetuate”.

He said: “People need to be positive role models, we need to call people out when they are being ignorant and we need to deal with prejudice through education.” 

In reference to the survey, Mr Carnegie said that it is important in order to “shine a light” on the experiences that LGBT workers in the industry are having and that the survey “should form a basis” for the sector to understand more about the challenges that people are facing.

Looking to the future, Mr Carnegie said there is still a “long way to go” but that he is “genuinely positive” about the direction the industry is heading in.

“When I go to meetings within the sector with competitive companies, suppliers, contractors and public sector partners, I think the mood is in the right place for positive change.

“I feel positive about what the future will look like.” 

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024