30 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual employees were harassed at work and over 10% quit a job because of discrimination, according to a new report authored by researchers at Trinity College Dublin.
Entitled Working it Out, the GLEN's Diversity Champions report supported by EY, breaks new ground by focusing on the workplace experiences of 590 lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) full-time employees in Ireland.
Respondents spoke of the stress caused by having to conceal their sexual orientation at work, with new employees being twice as likely to not disclose their sexual orientation as longer standing employees.
The study also found that employers who demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion had an advantage in attracting LGB candidates. 2 out of 3 people surveyed were open about their sexual orientation at work and 90% of respondents who were out reported a positive working relationship with colleagues. The research found that employees who were out at work were more committed to their employer than employees who were not out.
The report was authored by Dr Elizabeth Nixon, Assistant Professor in Psychology, Trinity and Brian McIntyre, a recent postgraduate from the School of Psychology, based on their own original research.
Co-author of the report Brian McIntyre, who conducted the research while at Trinity, commented: "The report explores the lived experience of 590 Irish LGB employees regarding their decisions to disclose or not to disclose their sexual orientation at work, and their experiences in the Irish workplace. It also provides valuable insight into how companies can drive improved business performance by fully engaging their lesbian, gay and bisexual employees." commented co-author Brian McIntyre a recent postgraduate from the School of Psychology, Trinity.
Davin Roche, Director at Diversity Champions, added: "While this research shows the challenges faced by many lesbian, gay and bisexual employees, it also clearly shows why it makes good business sense to address these issues. Good employers know that people perform best when they can be themselves".
Mike McKerr, Managing Partner at EY said: "Businesses have evolved their thinking about diversity over the last number of years. It's no longer simply about levelling the playing field and providing equal opportunities. Truly diverse companies recognise, celebrate, and embrace difference. We believe this creates stronger businesses and competitive advantage in attracting and retaining LGBT professionals, critical for better innovation and business performance."