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LGBT+ graduates want to be out at work

Eight in 10 LGBT+ students and graduates believe that it will be harder to reach senior leadership positions

Three quarters of LGBT+ students and graduates are reluctant to join companies where they can’t be out at work, according to research by the LGBT+ business community, myGwork.

The study also found that eight in 10 of the LGBT+ students and graduates believe that being LGBT+ will make it more challenging for them to reach senior leadership positions.  

The same proportion indicated that seeing visible LGBT+ role models in senior positions would significantly influence their decision to accept a job offer made by a prospective employer. 

The data also showed that LGBT+ students and graduates of colour attach slightly higher importance to having visible LGBT+ role models and allies in leadership roles compared to their white peers.

Adrien and Pierre Gaubert, founders of myGwork, told HR magazine that inclusion and representation are a priority for the new generation of jobseekers.

They said: “The majority of LGBTQ+ students and graduates expressed their desire to be open at work, emphasising the significance of an environment enabling authenticity and pride.

“Policies that go above and beyond the usual diversity and inclusion benefits that actually include all the LGBTQ+ communities, offering relevant benefits, alongside having visible LGBTQ+ role models and allies, especially in senior roles, will highly influence this talent pool to accept a job with your organisation and hopefully stay for the long term.”

Read more: Three quarters of LGBT+ women fear coming out at work

Over a third (36%) of LGBT+ students and graduates have personally experienced discrimination, such as homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, at their place of study or work.

LGBT+ students and graduates of colour personally experienced more discrimination at 40%, compared to 30% of white LGBT+ students and graduates. 

Only 5% of the LGBT+ students and graduates surveyed believe that organisations are taking enough proactive action to be LGBT+ inclusive.

Adrien and Pierre Gaubert said HR professionals should ensure they are trained in LGBT+ inclusion in order to create safer workplaces.

They said: “Although many HR professionals and managers want to be strong LGBT+ allies, many find themselves without the sufficient knowledge to do so confidently. The lack of LGBT+ inclusion training in the workplace doesn’t help.

“Ongoing education and development for leaders and HR professionals, such as allyship training, will go a long way to creating a safe environment for young LGBT+ Gen Z job seekers, which will ultimately help to retain them."

More than 2,000 students and recent graduates from around the world participated in the myGwork survey in the last quarter of 2023, to share their perceptions and experiences of inclusion at their place of study or work. Full report available here.