One-third of LGBTQ+ workers are actively looking for a new job with a new employer that is more LGBTQ+ inclusive, according to a June 22 report from Deloitte Global’s 2023 LGBTQ+ Inclusion @ Work Survey.
The percentage is even higher for ethnic minority respondents, with more than half of LGBTQ+ employees currently looking for a new role and a new employer.
“The survey findings reinforce that when organizations foster diversity and demonstrate a commitment to LGBT+ inclusion, it can have a positive impact on the lives and experiences of all employees in the workplace,” Elizabeth Faber, chief people and purpose officer for Deloitte Global, said in a statement. “However, the survey also shows that organizations should do more to provide an environment in which LGBT+ employees feel able to be themselves at work,” she said.
In a survey of more than 5,400 non-Deloitte LGBTQ+ workers in various sectors across 13 countries, about 69% cited workforce diversity as their top consideration when seeking a new employer. After that, they prioritized the opportunity to be involved in diversity and inclusion initiatives (64%), the organization’s internal (63%) and external (56%) commitment to LGBT+ inclusion and organizational leaders who are out at work (53%).
Gen Z and millennial respondents were more likely to place an emphasis on diversity and inclusion than Gen X respondents. About 72% of Gen Z workers said they actively sought out information about an organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, compared with 64% of millennials and 43% of Gen X respondents.
Most workers also noted the importance of being able to freely express their LGBTQ+ identities at work. About 75% said it was important to be able to express their gender identity at work, and 60% said it was important to be able to express their sexual orientation at work.
At the same time, less than half of LGBTQ+ employees said they feel comfortable being out with all of their colleagues, and another third are only comfortable being out with some colleagues. The majority are open with their closest colleagues about their sexual orientation and gender identity, yet only 37% are comfortable being out with their direct managers.
About 42% of LGBTQ+ workers have experienced non-inclusive behaviors at work, and nearly half say they’re certain these behaviors were a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, nearly half of workers who experienced non-inclusive behavior didn’t report it for further action. The survey respondents said they didn’t think their complaint would be taken seriously, they were concerned that reporting it would make the situation worse, they didn’t think any action would be taken, and they were wary about potential adverse effects to their career.
“The data from the survey shows how far there still is to go when it comes to embedding LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace,” Emma Codd, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Deloitte Global, said in the statement.
“Many respondents want to be out at work but feel unable to be so with all colleagues due to concerns about being treated differently, discrimination and harassment and — for some — their personal safety,” she said. “Employers should take action to ensure that they provide an LGBT+ inclusive workplace — underpinned at all times by respect.”
About half of LGBTQ+ employees believe that being out at work could hurt their careers, according to another recent report. Workers worry about losing their job, not receiving a promotion or not being selected for a project.
However, allyship can help foster safety and inclusion, the Deloitte report found. Employers can foster LGBTQ+ allyship through open dialogue, proactive measures and intentional actions to make the workplace more inclusive.
Inclusive benefit design is important as well, with family-inclusive measures for LGBTQ+ workers such as “parental leave” rather than only “maternal leave.” In addition, the definition of “family” may need to change for benefits related to adoption or infertility. Since the needs and potential coverage options may vary based on state laws and individual desires, employers should tap into their own LGBTQ+ employee resource groups or community resources to create the most beneficial options.