LGBTQ+ Gen Zers are skeptical of employer efforts, EY says

Dive Brief:

  • Are employers doing enough to communicate their interest in supporting LGBTQ+ workers? According to EY, perhaps not.
  • Queer Generation Zers are three times as likely to be unsure about their employer’s LGBTQ+ initiatives. This population gave their employers’ LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts a C+ rating. On average, other generations gave their employers a B rating in EY’s March 2024 barometer report, for which the firm surveyed 500 LGBTQ+ employees.
  • Racially and ethnically diverse LGBTQ+ workers were also 1.7 times more likely to report having experienced workplace harassment in a previous employment situation than White LGBTQ+ employees, and were 2.3 times more likely to report having experienced microaggressions on the job.

Dive Insight:

The data indicates that Gen Z has “different expectations when evaluating employers’ inclusion efforts.” 

They also care about pay equity — and rank pay transparency high on their list of attractive workplace traits. They’re motivated by career development opportunities, but also have nuanced views about educational backgrounds and success. They want to be included in family planning benefits conversations.

This population is also vocal about mental healthcare and neurodiversity at work, and gravitates toward kindness in job searches. And at the LGBTQ+ intersection, it’s understandable why mental health would be top of mind for Gen Zers.

Since 2020, states have upped their anti-trans legislation with particular regard to youth, including the forced outing of trans kids at schools. Gen Zers are coming of age in an era where 37 state legislatures have introduced more than 140 bills restricting gender-affirming care last year.

That strain is being felt: 94% of people surveyed by Out and Equal, a workplace advocacy organization, expressed their feeling that LGBTQ+ equality has gotten worse over the past year. 

Almost half said they feel less safe due to anti-LGBTQ+ state legislation, and the majority of respondents said state-specific anti-trans and anti-gay laws would affect their decision to relocate for a job.

In fact, in releasing its most recent Corporate Equality Index, the Human Rights Campaign declared a “state of emergency” for queer and trans workers.

Employers may be unaware of how workers feel; 40% of workers told Out and Equal they don’t feel comfortable talking to their managers about how these state laws affect them.