June 29, 2020
Research from Accenture suggests that, despite some signs of progress, LGBT+ employees face significant challenges at work. Almost 70 percent of leaders surveyed believe they foster an empowering workplace environment, however 86 percent of LGBT+ employees do not feel fully supported.
In the UK, the LGBT+ community has seemingly made great strides towards being ‘equal’ in the workplace, with 59 percent of LGBT+ employees stating they are satisfied with their pace of advancement within their organisation, and a fifth aspiring to be in a senior leadership position within their companies, according to the research.
“At a time when we are acutely aware of ongoing social injustices, it has never been more important to hear and understand the experiences of minority groups.”
However, despite these outward signs of progress, research from Accenture claims that LGBT+ employees in the UK encounter unique challenges and privately held fears in the workplace that often go unseen but have a huge impact on their day to day experience.
The Accenture ‘Getting to Equal’ research, which surveyed more than 28,000 employees and business leaders across 26 countries, suggests that in the UK less than half (41 percent) of LGBT+ employees are fully open about their gender identity, expression, or sexual orientation at work. More worryingly, approximately one in four LGBT+ employees (26 percent) remain totally closeted, according to the survey.
The research also claims a significant perception gap between how UK business leaders perceive their workplace culture compared to LGBT+ employees. Globally, 68 percent of leaders surveyed feel that they create an empowering workplace environment where employees can be themselves, however just 14 percent of LGBT+ employees currently feel fully supported by their employer when it comes to issues like gender expression and sexual orientation at work.
According to the survey, almost three quarters (71 percent) of LGBT+ employees say that seeing LGBT+ employees in leadership positions is vital to helping them thrive and that the outward support of their non-LGBT colleagues is important to their ability to enjoy being at work.
Rebecca Tully, Inclusion and Diversity lead at Accenture in the UK said: “Though we don’t have all the answers, our research highlights the fundamental questions we need to be asking when it comes to making the workplace more inclusive for LGBT+ people. It’s important for leaders to act now and strive to create a culture where LGBT+ employees not only rise professionally, but also where they feel safe, supported and able to be themselves.”