Despite significant progress to foster more inclusive workplaces over recent decades, 41 per cent of LGBTQI+ workers the latest Workmonitor Pulse survey from Randstad say they have faced discrimination or prejudice at work. A third (33 per cent) believe that their sexuality or gender identity has negatively affected their career, remuneration or progression (35 per cent). The insights are derived from the views of more than 2,000 LGBTQI+ employees around the world.

The research indicates that this lack of inclusion and acceptance at work is having an impact on LGBTQI+ workers’ overall career potential. Over a third (36 per cent) reported that they have been less motivated or productive at work as they cannot be themselves at work, while the same proportion (36 per cent) choose to work remotely because the office doesn’t feel like an inclusive space to them.

Businesses are also losing out on key talent, as worries over discrimination in the workplace have compelled nearly a third to quit their jobs (29 per cent) or pursue alternate career paths (32 per cent), showing the direct link between non-inclusive workplaces and talent retention.

While the research shows that discrimination at work is still a reality for many, improvements have been made over the last five years. Two in five (41 per cent) LGBTQI+ workers say that they face less discrimination now compared to 2019, and over half (51 per cent) say that their employer has taken meaningful action to create an equitable workplace.

In lockstep with these improvements, workers’ expectations have also increased in recent years, raising the bar for the desired level of inclusivity at work. Three in five (58 per cent) workers believe that the overall responsibility for fostering an inclusive environment lies with their employer and almost half (48 per cent) said they value allyship and support from their employer more now than before.

Younger generations are leading the way in calling on their employers to make further changes, as Gen Z is more concerned about the impact of discrimination on their career progression than Baby Boomers (45 per cent vs 29 per cent).

Over half (57 per cent) of LGBTQI+ workers believe that businesses should take a stance on LGBTQI+ issues internally and make positive changes – but any action needs to be done in a constant and permanent way. Workers are very aware of tokenism and businesses should be cautious of appearing inauthentic in their actions.

This is evidenced by the research which found that while 41 per cent of LGBTQI+ workers said that their employer actively engages with Pride month, over a third (39 per cent) consider their employer’s contribution to be tokenistic.

In light of these findings, Randstad has today shared three tangible ways employers can create an environment of inclusivity for LGBTQI+ workers, including:

  1. empower employee-driven groups:ensure that all initiatives are grounded in the real experience of employees. This leads to informed, targeted business actions that support and enhance workplace inclusivity.
  2. instill a culture of respect and empathy:recognize and respect the diverse range of experiences LGBTQI+ workers, rather than perceiving them as “others” or defining them solely by their gender or sexual orientation.
  3. authentic allyship, throughout the year:while Pride Month offers an important opportunity for businesses to reflect on their LGBTQI+ inclusivity efforts, this awareness must extend beyond just one month

Sander van ‘t Noordende, CEO, Randstad said: “As a member of the LGBTQI+ community, I’ve seen throughout my career the positive strides companies have taken to create more inclusive and equitable workplaces, but the journey is not over. A concerning proportion of LGBTQI+ workers are still facing discrimination and experience consequences on their career progression due to just being themselves.

“Business leaders have a responsibility to continue to make improvements,” Sander added. “They need to take actions that lead to meaningful change and increase the feeling of belonging in the workplace. Workers consistently tell us that the ability to be themselves at work means that they feel more productive, motivated and can reach their full potential at work. In a talent scarce world of work, companies need to attract and retain their best talent more than ever. It’s not just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.”

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