This June, it will have been 55 years since the Stonewall uprising in the US, a pivotal moment that sparked the global celebration of LGBTQI+ Pride as we know it today.

In the realm of work, strides have been made over the past five decades towards fostering more inclusive workplaces. However, recent data from Randstad‘s Workmonitor Pulse Survey indicates that initiatives and policies centred on equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDI&B) have made progress in enabling LGBTQI+ employees to express themselves authentically at work.

While 58% of LGBTQI+ workers in the UK feel comfortable discussing their sexuality or gender identity at work, a quarter choose to avoid these conversations altogether. It is worth noting that 62% believe their employers have taken significant steps to create a fair workplace for LGBTQI+ staff. Nevertheless, there remains much more to be accomplished.

The survey, which involved over 2,000 LGBTQI+ individuals across seven countries, revealed both positive and negative changes in the workplace over the past five years. While there have been pockets of progress, nearly half (47%) of respondents in the UK reported experiencing discrimination during their careers.

Discrimination in UK workplaces

Baby Boomers have been disproportionately impacted by workplace discrimination, with 63% stating they have faced prejudice due to their sexuality or gender identity. Only 44% feel they face less discrimination than they did five years ago, while over a quarter (27%) believe discrimination has worsened during this period.

A significant proportion (39%) of UK workers feel more isolated in their workplaces now compared to five years ago. This sense of isolation is particularly prevalent among younger generations, with 37% of Gen Z and 45% of Millennials expressing increased feelings of isolation at work compared to five years ago. Moreover, more than half (58%) now place a higher value on allyship at work than they did previously, with this sentiment rising to 63% among Gen Z respondents.

Furthermore, 43% believe that not being able to be themselves at work affects their motivation and productivity. Employers should take note of these concerns as worries about discrimination hindering career progression were reported by 41% of LGBTQI+ workers in the UK.

The findings from the Workmonitor Pulse survey underscore the profound impact workplace culture has on the employment decisions and career trajectories of LGBTQI+ employees. Non-inclusive organisations risk losing talent as around one in three workers have left their jobs due to feeling uncomfortable at work.

A majority (69%) of UK workers believe it is their employer’s responsibility to cultivate an inclusive workplace and take a stance on LGBTQI+ issues (66%). However, nearly a third state that their employer does not engage with Pride Month initiatives. Of those whose employers do participate, half describe these efforts as tokenistic – offering superficial support without substantive change to company culture or policies.

A resounding 65% of UK respondents stress the need for companies to introduce inclusive policies within their organisations and publicly advocate for LGBTQI+ issues.