More than 40% of LGBTQ+ workers say they’ve faced prejudice at work

In a new survey, 57% of LGBTQ+ workers said they believe that businesses should take a stance on LGBTQ+ issues internally and make positive changes — in a consistent and permanent way, according to a May 22 report from Randstad.

Most of all, changes need to be legitimate and not tokenistic, they said. In a survey of more than 2,000 LGBTQ+ workers worldwide, 41% said they’ve faced discrimination or prejudice at work, and a third said their sexuality or gender identity has negatively affected their career, remuneration or progression.

This lack of belonging affects their work efforts, too, according to the report. More than a third said they’ve been less motivated or productive, and 36% said they choose to work remotely because the office doesn’t feel inclusive.

“As a member of the LGBTQI+ community, I’ve seen throughout my career the positive strides companies have taken to create more inclusive and equitable workplaces, but the journey is not over,” Sander van ’t Noordende, CEO of Randstad, said in a statement.

“Business leaders have a responsibility to continue to make improvements. They need to take actions that lead to meaningful change and increase the feeling of belonging in the workplace,” he said. “Workers consistently tell us that the ability to be themselves at work means that they feel more productive, motivated and can reach their full potential at work.”

Talent acquisition and retention may suffer as well. About 29% of LGBTQ+ workers said they quit their jobs, and 32% have chosen alternate career paths due to concerns about discrimination.

Randstad recommended three ways employers can create an inclusive environment — by empowering employee-driven groups, developing a culture of respect and empathy for a diverse range of LGBTQ+ experiences, and fostering authentic allyship throughout the year, not just during Pride Month.

As legislators propose and enact more anti-LGBTQ+ laws, many workers want employers to be advocates, according to a survey by Out & Equal. Employers can provide support by offering flexible or remote work options, advocating for public policy and creating employee assistance programs for those affected by new legislation.

In fact, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has created a state of emergency for queer and trans talent, according to a Human Rights Campaign report. This type of legislation “creates real, measurable and tangible strain on business operations broadly and individual workers and their families,” according to the report.

A separate Glassdoor report also emphasized how discrimination still injures LGBTQ+ workers’ job prospects. Nearly half of LGBTQ+ workers told Glassdoor that being out at work could hurt their careers by losing a job, missing out on a promotion or not being selected for a project. Rather than merely showing performative support during Pride Month, companies can improve employee experience through employee resource groups and educational programming, the report found.