As our nation prepares to commemorate National Coming Out Day, Out Leadership‘s “Out to Succeed 2.0,” a global workplace survey of LGBTQ+ employees finds historic progress for LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace with 80 percent reporting feeling comfortable being out at work, up from 36 percent in 2016. Yet challenges remain for more marginalized members of the LGBTQ+ community, including transgender employees, as well as LGBTQ+ women and people of color, despite this historic progress.
A new global workplace survey of over 2,700 LGBTQ+ employees from 5 continents finds today’s workplace as overwhelmingly supportive of LGBTQ+ inclusivity as we draw near National Coming Out Day and being out at work as a positive differentiator in the careers of most LGBTQ+ employees. Despite this remarkable progress, challenges remain especially for the transgender, nonbinary, and people of color – especially women of color.
Out to Succeed 2.0: Realizing the Full Potential of LGBTQ+ Talent is the largest-ever global survey conducted of the LGBTQ+ workforce and was conducted by Out Leadership in partnership with Out for Undergrad in time for this year’s National Coming Out Day. The research is being previewed today in conjunction with Out Leadership’s OutNEXT Summit, the first and only global talent program for emerging LGBTQ+ leaders, proudly sponsored by RBC Capital Markets and Citi. Since its inception, OutNEXT has connected over 9,000 young leaders at events across the globe.
“As the United States celebrates National Coming Out Day, we applaud the skyrocketing number of workplaces where LGBTQ+ employees feel comfortable fully being themselves. This research clearly indicates how business leaders have advanced the movement for LGBTQ+ equality while simultaneously creating a better business environment for their employees, clients, and consumers,” said Todd Sears, Founder and CEO of Out Leadership. “When I came out at 18 years old, I never could’ve imagined the progress I’ve seen through my career – and what Out Leadership has helped create with our members. I know these pioneering companies will continue to lead by example as we address new challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community.”
Out to Succeed 2.0 builds upon 15 years of research on the LGBTQ+ workforce, including the three versions of The Power of Out series (pioneered by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Karen Sumberg & Kenji Yoshino with contributions from Out Leadership Founder & CEO Todd Sears) and Out To Succeed, the first-ever global millennial LGBTQ research published in 2018 by Out Leadership sponsored by PwC.
“By demonstrating how inclusive workplaces are better able to attract and retain LGBTQ+ talent, Out to Succeed 2.0 exemplifies what Out Leadership’s research has consistently shown for years: companies that invest in LGBTQ+ equality reap real bottom-line impact,” said Todd Sears, Founder and CEO of Out Leadership. “To maintain this talent advantage, avoid a brain drain, and continue realizing strong profits, business leaders must reject the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ laws in every state and country where they operate.”
Out LGBTQ+ Leaders are Thriving Professionally
- 70% of out LGBTQ+ talent believe that being out in the workplace has had a positive impact on their career opportunities and advancement.
- Nearly four out of five (78%) say that being LGBTQ+ has helped them build their personal and professional networks.
- 57% of the 1,438 employees in our survey cohort (94% of whom identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or non-binary) are deemed high-potential or key talent by their employers. Among transgender employees, that proportion is 64%.
Businesses Must Create Better Work Environments for LGBTQ+ Leaders
- 92% of LGBTQ+ employees consider companies’ company’s reputation around LGBTQ+ inclusion when job seeking.
- Trans and non-binary employees are more likely than other LGBTQ+ employees (9% vs 7%) to say they are uncomfortable being out at work, and many feel it hasn’t been good for their careers.
- Black lesbian employees are 1.6x more likely than other LGBTQ+ employees (41% vs 26%) to say they’ve felt uncomfortable or insulted by comments made by colleagues about the LGBTQ+ community and are much more inclined to cover.
- Non-binary employees are the most likely of all LGBTQ+ employees to disagree (34% vs 27%) that their employer takes action to protect its LGBTQ+ employees from offensive comments or behaviors.
Out Leadership and O4U conducted a global online survey of 2,790 LGBTQ+ and ally employees and college students (LGBTQ+ respondents constitute 94% of the survey pool) over the time period of May 2022 to November 2022. Participants were self-selected to take the survey, and primarily include employees from Out Leadership’s member firms and nonprofit partners, business leaders from Out Leadership’s current and past OutNEXT cohorts, students from O4U’s talent network, and individuals from the general public. The survey was also fielded to a global audience through Toluna, a market research company that provided a small financial incentive to participants who completed the survey. In order to participate through Toluna, participants were required to self-identify as LGBTQ+ and report having “some high school and/or university experience.” For more on the survey methodology, click here.
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