New research shows that there is still more to be done to support staff who identify as LGBTQ+ as new findings reveal a sizeable amount have experienced discrimination in the workplace due to their identity. 

A new report by the Boston Consulting Group indicates that around a fifth of people in the UK (21 per cent) believe coming out as LGBTQ+ in the workplace will put them at a disadvantage.

Surprisingly, however, more people (23 per cent) contrarily believed that this puts them at an advantage at work, suggesting companies are becoming more accepting of employees who are LGBTQ+.

The amount of people who regard this as a disadvantage in the UK is below the global average (24 per cent), indicating that the UK may be more inclusive in this arena.

Under the Equality Act, it is not lawful for an employer to directly or indirectly discriminate against any employee who may be LGBTQ+ as this is categorised as a protected characteristic.

Despite these protections for this group, over half of people in the UK (51 per cent) reported experiencing discrimination at work due to their LGBTQ+ status.

Again, this was shown to be lower than the global average (58 per cent) but still a prevalent problem for the majority of LGBTQ+ employees.

However, more optimistic findings showed that LGBTQ+ employees were willing to share their identity with their colleagues in the UK.

A similar number of LGBTQ+ employees who came out to their families (88 per cent) felt just as comfortable coming out to their co-workers (87 per cent).

This was significantly higher than the global average of just 76 per cent, suggesting employees in the UK are generally satisfied in bringing ‘their whole selves’ to work.

Interestingly, the first year of employment proved to be extremely crucial with seven in 10 LGBTQ+ employees globally coming out within their first year at work. After this period, only one in 10 (10 per cent) came out at work.

The report ultimately identified five key areas which would make the workplace more inclusive for people of the LGBTQ+ community, including:

  • Foundations – Ensuring HR implements the correct policies and communicating these elements effectively.
  • Recruiting – Targeting outreach to LGBTQ+ candidates, providing candidates with support through the recruiting process, and offering new hires early connections to a network of existing LGBTQ+ employees when they come aboard.
  • Onboarding – Connecting LGBTQ+ employees with mentors who can help them navigate their careers and can be a resource for managing any concerns or issues.
  • Day-to-Day Work EnvironmentCreating a respectful, inclusive culture through visible initiatives such as creating gender-neutral bathrooms and nonbinary choices on company forms.
  • Continued Engagement Making DEI initiatives a regular component of the company’s calendar including frequent expressions of support, events that celebrate and recognise the Pride movement, and support of broader LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion.

*Boston Consulting Group surveyed 8,800 people across 19 countries to obtain these results which has been documented in their Out@Work Barometer survey.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.