40% of LGBT+ employees feel more isolated at work than five years ago – Randstad UK

Victoria Short, chief executive of Randstad UK, said: “These findings are a stark reminder that discrimination against LGBTQI+ workers remains a significant issue in the workplace."
3 mins read

Almost half (47%) of LGBT+ employees have faced discrimination or prejudice at work, while 40% feel more isolated at work than they did five years ago, according to research from Randstad UK.

Almost a third of LGBT+ employees in a poll of 350 said the discrimination they faced at work had become worse in the past five years.

Almost four in 10 (38%) people surveyed believed their sexuality or gender identity has affected their remuneration.

Respondents who identified as male were more likely to report that their sexuality or gender-identity had impacted their remuneration or progression, compared to only 35% of those who identified as female.

More than a third (36%) said their sexuality or gender identity has negatively affected their long-term career.

Four in 10 (41%) worried that discrimination would hold back their career progression in the future, too.

Victoria Short, chief executive of Randstad UK, said: “These findings are a stark reminder that discrimination against LGBTQI+ workers remains a significant issue in the workplace.

“It’s unacceptable that nearly half of LGBTQI+ employees have faced prejudice and it’s particularly concerning that many believe this has affected their pay and career progression.

“We need to commit to fostering inclusive environments where every individual can thrive, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.

“It’s time to turn these statistics around and ensure equality and respect for all in the workplace.”

43% of employees agreed with the statement: ‘I have been less motivated or productive at work because I can’t be myself.’

More than a third preferred to work remotely due to their workplace not being an inclusive environment.

And 42% of respondents did not feel comfortable talking about their sexuality or gender identity at work.

Almost a third (32%) had quit a job because of how uncomfortable they felt in the workplace, due to their sexuality or gender identity, while 40% had been too afraid of discrimination to apply for a job.

Victoria Short said: “These results should be a massive wake-up call for employers.

“When 43% of workers feel less motivated because they can’t be themselves at work, it’s clear that inclusivity is not just a moral imperative — it’s a business one.

“Employers are missing out on having staff in the office because they’re working remotely to avoid it.

“Employers are missing out on retaining top talent because they are leaving the organisation.

“Employers are even missing out on potential candidates because their talent pool is smaller than it should be.

“We must act now to foster inclusivity and support every individual to be their authentic selves at work.”

Short added: “These trends are really troubling and highlight how much work the country needs to do.

“That a quarter of respondents have experienced worsening discrimination over the past five years is deeply concerning.

“Additionally, with four in ten of our respondents feeling more isolated now than they did five years ago, it’s clear that progress toward inclusivity has stalled — or even reversed — in some areas.

“As business leaders and employers, we must redouble our efforts to combat discrimination and foster environments where everyone feels included and valued.

“This is not just about policy, but about creating a culture of respect and support for all employees.”

Half of respondents (50%) said their employer’s contribution to Pride and LGBT+ initiatives felt tokenistic; for those who chose not to identify as male or female, 71% believed this to be the case.

Almost two-thirds, (65%) said they believed their employer needs to introduce internal policies for a more inclusive workplace – such as inclusive job ads, training or business resource groups.

While a small majority (58%) believed their employer should take a stance on LGBT+ issues in a public forum – via media engagement or social media activity (58%) – 66% wanted their employer to take a stance on LGBT+ issues internally.

Almost seven in 10 (69%) agreed that the responsibility for fostering an inclusive environment for LGBT+ workers stood with their employer.

Short said: “It’s no good making changes to look good — or just to do what is expected of the business — if you aren’t committed to making deeper, worthwhile changes.

“LGBTQI+ employees want their employers to take an authentic stand on this internally and externally as well as introducing the right policies within the organisation and fostering an inclusive environment.”

The research highlighted some more positive trends; 51% of respondents said they have LGBT+ role models in their workplace.

A larger proportion reported that their colleagues are active allies for the LGBT+ community (58%) — while 54% described the leadership of their organisation as active allies.

More than three in five (62%) of those polled agreed with the statement: My employer has taken meaningful action to create an equitable workplace for LGBT+ employees.

Jessica Bird

Jessica Bird is Managing Editor of Workplace Journal

Previous Story

Dudley Building Society awarded Great Place to Work certification

Next Story

“Time to take more action” – Women in Finance call for further education on gender disparities

Latest from Featured

Don't Miss