Figures from a recent YouGov poll have shown a pay gap of 16 per cent between LGBT employees in the UK and their straight colleagues.
Last month, we wrote about the implications of Pride Month and steps organisations can take to promote awareness and encourage equality in the workplace. In a poll conducted as part of the month, YouGov has since revealed that employees from the LGBT community take home nearly £7,000 less per year on average than those who identify as straight. The study also highlighted that 60 per cent of those polled wanted organisations to increase transparency around inclusion policies. 68 per cent wanted a more supportive workplace overall.
The poll, which was conducted in collaboration with jobs website LinkedIn, suggests that poor workplace practices surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity can make LGBT employees feel they will be unfairly treated as a result of their personal lives. This is something that can be damaging to their overall professional development alongside the organisation that they work for. Joshua Graff, UK country manager at LinkedIn, outlines that ‘concealing such a huge part of your life from colleagues can be extremely stressful and takes up energy that could be spent excelling at your jobs.’
One of the major issues highlighted by the poll is the lack of representation from the community in senior positions, with 70 per cent of LGBT professionals claiming that they have no LGBT manager to look up to. On this topic, 48 per cent called for senior members of staff who are a member of the community to be encouraged to publically talk about their stories of coming out at work, with the aim of helping others to do the same.
Employees should feel safe and supported at work and should never feel that being open about their personal life could negatively affect their professional progression. Organisations should remember that people are protected against unlawful discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity through the Equality Act 2010. For example, denying an employee equal opportunities for promotion just because he identifies as gay would be seen as discriminatory and could result in the organisation receiving an unlimited fine.
To this end, it is highly advisable that organisations make sure all managers are fully trained in treating their employees equally and are not just basing their decisions upon personal preference. All important decisions surrounding recruitment and employee progression should never be made by one individual and should be thoroughly discussed before being finalised.