Transgender employees face 14% income gap

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LGBT+ staff are struggling with promotion opportunities and verbal abuse, with transgender workers feeling particularly unsupported

Transgender employees face a 14% income gap compared to non-trans employees, according to research by LinkedIn.

This equates to an annual income shortfall of £5,340.

LinkedIn's research, conducted for Pride month, found that almost a quarter (21%) of LGBT+ employees reported experiencing verbal abuse in the office and almost two-thirds (61%) said they have been made to feel uncomfortable by colleagues because of their sexuality or gender identity.

This discrimination could explain why 14% of LGBT+ respondents feel their chances of promotion in their company would be hindered if they came out, researchers noted.

More generally, while two-thirds (65%) of all workers believe that their organisation is doing enough to support LGBT+ employees a fifth (21%) think they should do more.

This is particularly true for transgender employees, with 44% saying more should be done, as well as 31% of gay and lesbian and 29% of bisexual workers. Just 12% of heterosexual employees felt the same way.

More than half (57%) want to see greater transparency around employers’ stances on diversity and inclusion, while 55% want more supportive environments for coming out at work. Additionally, 44% said they want to see more inspirational people within the workplace sharing their own experiences, and 37% want more LGBT+ events and groups at work.

Currently 70% of LGBT+ professionals say they have no senior LGBT+ people at work to look up to, a sentiment that is particularly strong for workers in the manufacturing (82%) and construction (80%) industries.

The research said this could be having an impact on people coming out at work. Twenty-eight per cent of professionals who are not open about their sexuality at work said it’s because they worry they’ll be judged by co-workers, and 17% said it’s because there are no openly-LGBT+ people in their workplace at the moment.

Joshua Graff, UK country manager at LinkedIn, said the research highlights that workplaces have a way to go to become inclusive.

“While a significant number of UK workers feel that their employer is supportive and inclusive of LGBT+ colleagues, our research shows there is still a long way to go. It is important that businesses build on the steps that many have already taken to create more inclusive environments – places where people can bring their true authentic selves to work,” he said.

Suki Sandhu, CEO and founder of diversity and inclusion organisation INvolve, added: "Research like this is incredibly important in reminding organisations that inclusion should be at the top of their agenda. Although we have seen progress in the workplace for LGBT+ people, it is clear that there are still substantial issues that can make it difficult for individuals to thrive professionally as their authentic selves.

"LGBT+ people are at all levels of a business, whether they’re out or not, so it’s crucial to have inclusive environments. It’s not only morally right but it also strengthens the bottom line.”

The research, conducted in partnership with UK Black Pride, was carried out by YouGov and surveyed 4,000 UK workers who identified as straight, gay, bisexual or other.

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