EngagementDiversity & InclusionLGBTQ employees feel they cannot be themselves at work

LGBTQ employees feel they cannot be themselves at work

A survey of 4,000 participants found that only 50% have actually come out to their broad professional circle.

According to studies by BCG, it has been reported that one-third of young LGBT+ workers in the UK worry that being open about their identity in the workplace could be a career risk.

Although UK ranks 2nd in a list of countries where LGBT+ talent feel comfortable coming out at work, it has been revealed that surprisingly over a third would lie when asked by a manager if they’re in a relationship

Elliot Vaughn, a Partner in BCG’s UK office and co-founder of LGBT+ charity, GiveOut comments on these statistics, saying “Despite a positive trend toward LGBT+ inclusion, there is still a clear gap between intention and action”

Industries and Sectors 

When looking at where LGBT members feel most comfortable, and what industry most appeals to them. 58% of LGBTQ respondents said that they would like to work in a multinational, in comparison to the 69% non-LGBT+ response. Startups seem to also struggle with this issue, with these sectors appealing to only 19% of LGBT+ respondents, compared with 26% of non-LGBTQ. However the public sector and nonprofit employers seem relatively more attractive—by 6 to 10 percentage points—to LGBT+ candidates than to non-LGBTQ respondents.

When looking for a career, it is critical for LGBTQ respondents find a culture where they can ensure that they will not have to work in a hostile environment. 5% of UK respondents saying that they would put business first and accept to work on a project in a country where LGBTQ people may be prosecuted. So it is clear that in order to appeal to LGBT+ talent, companies need to ensure that they can guarantee that these members will not be criticised or receive hostile treatment for who they are.

How we can help LGBTQ members feel more inclusive

“To attract emerging LGBTQ talent, it’s not enough to focus only on recruitment. It’s also important to create a work environment that meets their expectations, and that supports them to succeed in their professional lives. Two high impact steps companies can take are to visibly signal the importance of inclusion at the most senior level, and to create networks and peer communities for mentoring and to help find solutions to difficult issues that still come up,” says Vaughn.

There are many other things that employers can do to accommodate LGBTQ issues, simply by raising awareness among all employees. As well as ensuring that these members receive the exact same benefit package as everyone else. (e.g. health insurance for same-sex partners in countries where it is not a legal obligation).

The survey was conducted by BCG’s LGBTQ network from July 2018- September 2018. 4,000 students and recent graduates representing 60 nationalities in countries including France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Mexico, the US, and Brazil responded to an online questionnaire. In order to make comparative assessments, the survey included both LGBT+ and non-LGBTQ respondents.

The findings have been published in The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) fourth edition of its annual survey on the perceptions and expectations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender + (LGBTQ) professionals in the workplace.

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