New research from LinkedIn suggests that the income of UK LGBT+ employees is on average 16% (£6,703) less than their straight counterparts.
The research, conducted in partnership with UK Black Pride and carried out by YouGov, surveyed 4,000 UK workers who identified as being either straight, gay, bisexual or other.
While two thirds of workers (65%) agreed that their employer is doing enough to support LGBT+ employees, 21% thought that more should be done to help them feel included. This is particularly true for transgender employees, with 44% saying that more needs to be done going forwards.
Joshua Graff, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn said that, while a number of UK employees feel that their employers are inclusive of LGBT+ colleagues, the research insinuates that there is still a long way to go. “It is important that businesses build on the steps that many have already taken to create more inclusive environments - places where people can bring their true, authentic selves to work.”
Of those survey respondents demanding change, 57% wanted to see greater transparency around their employers’ stance on Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), while 55% wanted more supportive environments for coming out at work.
The research revealed that, currently, 70% of LGBT+ professionals say that they have no senior LGBT+ leaders to look up to and this is having an impact on people coming out at work. Additionally, 28% of professionals who are currently not openly LGBT+ with colleagues say that they are concerned that colleagues will judge them. So, it is clear that employers need to do more to help them feel more comfortable being themselves at work.
How to boost LGBT+ inclusion
According to Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, ensuring that senior leaders are championing LGBT+ inclusion and channelling positive change is crucial. Change comes from the top and if positive attitudes are adopted by the leadership team, then this is likely to be parroted by the rest of the organisation.
Additionally, setting up LGBT+ staff network groups and supporting their development within an organisation is another great place to start. Last month, O2 announced the creation of a toolkit for employees and managers to support employees who are either going through or are starting a gender transition journey. The toolkit was developed in partnership with Stonewall, as well as members from O2’s Proud employee network.
The resources within the toolkit ensure that managers are properly prepared and equipped to support transitioning employees to create a working culture where all employees, regardless of gender identity, feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work.
Jo Bertram, Chief Digital and Strategy Officer and Executive Committee Sponsor for Inclusion at O2, commented: “To prosper businesses must reflect society and, at O2, we are committed to enabling this by fostering a diverse and inclusive culture. Introducing a transitioning toolkit is the right thing to do for our people and builds on a series of progressive moves by O2 this year, including extending paid paternity leave for all couples regardless of their orientation. We know that doing the right thing by our people is critical to attract and retain top talent.”
Ultimately, Karen Thomson, Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Fujitsu UK&I explained that HR policies should reflect an organisation’s culture. “When looking at your policies think about the language you are using. By reviewing your policies through an LGBT+ lens you can ensure that they are relevant to LGBT+ employees. For example, would same-sex parents feel that your maternity and paternity policies include them? By making policies inclusive you signal to LGBT+ employees that they are an integral part of your thought process when creating policies.”