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Michael Baker: ‘As an LGBTQ+ man in construction, I have always been a pioneer for diversity in this industry’
Author: Tiffany Zhou  /  21st Jun, 2022  /  News, Responsible Business

As part of our Building With Pride initiatives for June 2022 we spoke to Michael Baker, who works for Mercury as a Quantity Surveyor on a data centre project in Lulea, Sweden. Michael is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and bravely shares his experience of working in construction as a bisexual male.

In this interview, Michael provides personal insights about his experiences of diversity and inclusion in the industry, and speaks about what Pride month means to him, while highlighting how his Mercury colleagues have provided incredible support over the past two years.

Scroll below to read Michael’s full story.

Tell us a little about yourself and your career to date.

“My name is Michael Baker, I’m a senior quantity surveyor, currently working for Mercury on a data centre project in Lulea, Sweden. I have been with Mercury for the past two years, and have worked as a QS for the last eight.”

“As a bisexual male working in construction, I have always been a pioneer and a driver for diversity in this industry.”

What made you pursue a career in construction and what is it like to work in this industry as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?

“I initially wanted to be a primary school teacher, but thought to myself, if I can control a room of eight-year-olds, I figured, why not consider taking on a construction site of 48-year-olds? It seemed like a bit of a challenge at the time, and I fell in love with it.”

“It’s a dynamic, global and engaging business. Obviously there has been challenges along the way, but I’ve been quite privileged and have worked with a lot of great teams. I think that diversity, in terms of more women and more nationalities coming into the industry has helped greatly, especially for the LGBTQ+ community, and it makes you feel that bit more included. I generally try and keep my personal life separate from my professional life, due to the stigma associated. I find that the older generation are often not as well educated on this issue, and I think that’s part of the struggle. I found that while I have sometimes been greeted with questions, most people are just curious, and I am more than happy to answer.”

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“Throughout my career, I have never had any animosity directed towards me. It’s been interesting, and a bit of a challenge sometimes, but in my experience, it’s not been as bad as sometimes portrayed.”

Has construction been slower than other industries in introducing LGBTQ+ programmes?

“I would say yes, it’s probably been slower due to stigmas. It’s a very masculine driven business, at least historically it was. Obviously with that comes a lot of the complexities of delicate male personalities. But then with the generational education and influx of younger life coming into the business, there is a lot more knowledge, understanding and respect. The diversity is out there. It’s slowly coming to the fore and it’s becoming normalised, which is a healthy thing. I look back at the industry from when I first stated, to where it is now and I definitely have noticed the difference over the years.”

What has been your experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Mercury?

“Mercury does a great job. There’s a very diverse culture and a great mix of people. Whenever the topic comes up, and when I’ve been out with my colleagues, it’s never been aggressive. It’s always been a curious conversation and people are always keen to learn and understand more about my situation and lifestyle choices. The people of Mercury definitely contribute to making a very healthy working culture.”

What is pride about for you?

“There’s a lot of events going on this year! I think it’s quite healthy to have those moments, to allow LGBTQ+ people to come out of the shadows. They can feel comfortable because they’ll be around people of the same sort of demographic, which is a healthy experience for them. For me, it’s just about celebrating myself and giving myself the opportunity to really be me, rather than keeping my head down. I feel a bit more relaxed in general during Pride month as everyone is in that sort of space.”

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

At Mercury, our drive towards diversity & inclusion is one of the key driving factors behind our winning culture.

We have put in place a Diversity & Inclusion Policy that is driven by our Executive Management Team. Diversity & Inclusion is woven into the fabric of the vision and values of Mercury, not only through our culture, but through the entire life cycle of the employee experience.

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