Study Finds Only Half of LGBTQ Employees Come Out at Work

According to a report released by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to HR Drive, an industry news provider, 80% of LGBTQ employees feel prepared to disclose their identity statuses to their employers, but only half actually have. The study completed by BCG is a fourth-edition global survey on the perceptions of LGBTQ employees in workplace environments and their experiences navigating discriminatory policies.

Results revealed that 46% of respondents said they would outright lie about or avoid discussing their sexual orientation with their managers during informal discussions. Furthermore, 13% of the LGBTQ individuals surveyed said they would give their professional ambition priority over openness about their orientation. Some would even reluctantly agree to take work in countries where homosexuality is considered a crime, the study found.

No explicit causal links between LGBTQ discrimination and its impact on the socioeconomic outcomes of LGBTQ people with careerist aims can be drawn from the survey’s results. Nevertheless, BCG recommends that employers develop LGBTQ networks, raise awareness of LGBTQ concerns among all staff, and ensure LGBTQ employees have access to the same benefits as all other workers.

HR Drive references a 2017 CareerBuilder survey that highlights statistics on feelings of perceived bullying in the LGBTQ community, where 40% of those surveyed indicated that they felt they’d been “bullied” in the workplace, 11% higher than the general labor force. Nearly half of the 40% surveyed revealed that this intimidation resulted in them quitting their jobs.

Advocates say the creation of a diverse and inclusive workforce requires an intentional commitment to supporting LGBTQ employees and targeting problems specific to their identities and communities. Focusing on their most pertinent concerns – such as the health needs of transgender employees – can better enable employers and organizations to retain employees from underrepresented populations.