For Many LGBTQ+ Workers, Work Has Become a Safer Space

By Jocelyne Gafner

Published June 7, 2022

Jocelyne is an Austin-based writer with five years of experience in content creation and marketing. She is passionate about the power of words and its impact on equitable access to information.

In honor of Pride month, Indeed conducted a survey¹ of 1,002 full-time professionals that identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community to better understand their current workplace experiences. The findings suggest that progress is being made in the workspace toward increased inclusivity, making employees feel safer bringing their authentic selves to work.

Read on to learn more about the challenges LGBTQ+ workers still face today as well as what factors contribute to greater inclusivity at work.

Most people who identify as LGBTQ+ apply at companies they have vetted for inclusivity

87% of the people we surveyed who identify as LGBTQ+ said that they researched their company prior to applying to ensure they were LGBTQ+ friendly, suggesting that perceived inclusivity within a company is a major factor in the application process for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

  • 71% said they checked the company’s social media to make sure they were LGBTQ+ friendly.

  • 61% said they spoke to current and/or former employees.

  • 45% reported that they checked employee benefits to ensure they were inclusive.

  • 30% said they researched company leadership to gauge sentiment and inclusion.

  • 24% reported they checked the company’s profile and/or mission to ensure their values aligned with their own.

That a large majority of the LGBTQ+ population surveyed do the additional groundwork of ensuring that the companies they are applying to value inclusivity makes sense—according to a 2021 study, 45.5% of LGBT workers in the United States reported receiving unfair treatment such as discrimination and harassment at work at some point in their career due to their LGBT status. The negative effects of discrimination and harassment on employees’ health, well-being and job satisfaction have been well documented, and they are not the only challenges that LGBTQ+ workers have to face. A 2020 study found that members of the LGBTQ+ community also carry a large burden of mental load due to the necessity to establish allies in the workplace. 

The number of companies that aim to provide a safe environment for their LGBTQ+ employees is increasing, and for many working within those companies, their workplace becomes a place they feel comfortable bringing their full selves.

Read more: How To Find an LGBTQIA+ Friendly Workplace

A large majority of people who identify as LGBTQ+ find solace in inclusive workplaces

Of the LGBTQ+ professionals surveyed, the average number of years at their current company is seven—a number which is especially significant when compared to the result from a recent Indeed survey that discovered a rapidly increasing job-hopping trend among younger generations. The findings suggest that when companies prioritize inclusivity, they are likely to see more loyalty from underrepresented minorities, and the value of finding a company that provides a safe environment for those who identify as LGBTQ+ is of equal or greater value.

  • More than two-thirds of LGBTQ+ working from home feel safer being themselves with coworkers than with family. A majority (69%) of LGBTQ+ professionals surveyed working in a hybrid or remote capacity said they feel comfortable being their authentic selves with their coworkers but not with their families. 

  • For many, working from home is contributing to feelings of safety. 76% of the same subgroup said they feel safer expressing themselves from home versus working in the office. 

  • Nearly all LGBTQ+ professionals surveyed who are currently working in-office feel safe being themselves with their coworkers too. 92% of LGBTQ+ professionals surveyed working in a full-time in-office capacity say they feel safe being their whole authentic selves in front of their peers.

  • An even higher percentage who are working in-office report feeling included. 95% of LGBTQ+ professionals surveyed working in a full-time in-office capacity said that inclusion and belonging among their peers have not generally been an issue.

So far the data relays two major points: The majority of LGBTQ+ professionals make decisions on where to work based on a company’s track record, messaging and values, and if the company delivers a safe, inclusive environment a large percentage of LGBTQ+ professionals remain fiercely loyal to that company. The fact that significant percentages of the LGBTQ+ population feel safe at work, although encouraging, should not negate the reality that much progress is still needed since, for some, feelings of safety and inclusion at work do not extend past the front doors—91% of LGBTQ+ professionals who currently work in a hybrid or remote capacity and are expected to return to work in the next 6-12 months said they do not feel safe on their commute to work. That being said, a celebration of the inclusivity advancements made within workplaces is still in order. 

Over two-thirds of people who identify as LGBTQ+ believe inclusivity at work has improved over the past two years 

71% of the LGBTQ+ population surveyed said that they felt inclusion at work has changed in the past two years—of that percentage, 95% said it has gotten better, though 5% said it has gotten worse. A large majority (94%) of those who believe that inclusion at work has changed believe remote work has contributed to that change. Increased inclusivity due to remote work is certainly true for the 76% of LGBTQ+ professionals working from home who feel safer expressing themselves from home than in-office, but according to the data, a majority of LGBTQ+ professionals in all work environments report positive feelings of inclusivity. At the same time, nearly all of the people surveyed identified areas that still needed improvement.

  • 93% said they feel included in their workplace

  • 81% feel valued in their workplace

  • 74% are comfortable being out in their workplace (of the 26% who are not out at work, 86% fear they would not be accepted)

  • 84% would like to see more LGBTQ+ representation in leadership

Read more: Inclusive Culture: How To Contribute and Why It's Important

It is clear that many companies are working to foster safe environments for those who identify as LGBTQ+, but it is also pertinent to address the limitations that LGBTQ+ workers still face today. When taking into account all of the work that goes into finding a safe workplace, and the hesitancy to leave once it’s established, it is likely that a large percentage of the LGBTQ+ community faces a reduction in potential and opportunities in exchange for an atmosphere that provides basic feelings of safety and inclusivity. 

Top three factors that contribute to greater inclusivity at work

If you identify as LGBTQ+, it can be helpful to know what factors other LGBTQ+ workers feel contribute to greater inclusivity at work to better gauge what to look for when searching for a job, or what to advocate for within your company. 

  • Pronoun implementation: 83% said that the implementation of pronouns increased their sense of belonging and community within the workplace. Continuing to normalize pronoun implementation at work is an important effort to increase inclusivity, especially considering that 75% said that others assumed incorrect pronouns either sometimes (59%) or often (16%) both in and outside work. With pronoun implementation, the majority (78%) said that their coworkers were respectful of their pronouns. 

  • Bias training: The majority of LGBTQ+ workers surveyed find bias training to be beneficial. 76% said that their company currently offers bias training and almost all (98%) feel that the LGBTQ+ community is reflected accurately in their training while (86%) find it to be effective and helpful.

  • Benefits: When asked to rank the benefits in order of value, the top three included a hybrid work model (29%), extension of benefits to domestic partners (19%) and mental health benefits (19%). Fortunately, for most (91%) benefits have become more inclusive since they began working at their company.

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¹ Indeed-commissioned survey, conducted by Kickstand Communications, where n=1,002 people over the age of 18 who identify as LGBTQ+ working full time in the United States in May 2022

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