Two-thirds of LGBT+ Britons say employers not committed to diversity

Thursday, 17 January 2019 05:01 GMT

A worker looks at their phone as they walk past The Gherkin, Lloyds, and other office buildings in the City of London, Britain November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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Almost half of British LGBT+ employees said their company had made no progress on the issue in recent years

By Hugo Greenhalgh

LONDON, Jan 17 (Openly) - Almost two-thirds of British LGBT+ employees say they will quit within three years because their company is not committed to a diverse workplace, a global study revealed on Thursday.

Sixty-three percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender workers in Britain said they would seek employment elsewhere, compared with 43 percent of straight white men, according to research published by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Fity percent of British LGBT+ employees surveyed said their employer had failed to improve existing diversity and inclusion policies over the past one to three years.

"The worrying thing is that while 98 per cent of firms offer diversity and inclusion programmes, three-quarters of staff are not indicating that they are seeing any personal benefit," said Elliot Vaughn, BCG partner and one of the authors of the report.

"People are looking for a workplace free of bias, which is not that much to ask for," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

BCG analysed responses from 16,500 people working in a range of industries in 14 countries, including Brazil, China and the United States. The survey included 1,650 LGBT+ people.

Workplace diversity has risen up the corporate agenda in recent years, helped by visible campaigns around pay parity in particular designed to improve working conditions for women, ethnic minorities and LGBT+ people.

However, 45 percent of workers in Britain surveyed told BCG their company had made no progress on the issue in recent years.

The report cited visible LGBT+ role models in leadership as one of the solutions. In the United States, just three of the chief executives in the Fortune 500 of leading companies are openly gay or lesbian.

"This research shows there is still a huge way to go," said Iain Anderson, the executive chairman of Cicero, a public affairs company that represents many finance companies.

"There is a tremendous amount of Jurassic behaviour still around," he added.

The issue was compounded by companies' inability to distinguish between the various groups affected, said Vinay Kapoor, head of diversity and inclusion for BNP Paribas in the Americas.

"They're not taking into account the specific needs of the LGBT+ community – and within that community itself, each constituency has its own unique need and many organisations are not geared up to have that conversation."

A previous BCG survey of 4,000 employees in 12 countries found that just 50 percent of LGBT+ employees were "out" at work.

Further research by LGBT+ rights organisation Stonewall showed 35 percent of British employees hid their sexual orientation.

"People perform better when they can be themselves," a Stonewall spokesman said.

"Having an open and diverse working environment leads to higher levels of motivation, creativity and productivity. This is something every company should want from its staff." (Reporting by Hugo Greenhalgh @hugo_greenhalgh, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Openly is an initiative of the Thomson Reuters Foundation dedicated to impartial coverage of LGBT+ issues from around the world.

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