Business

The Economist shows why it is a business imperative to support LGBT workers

The Economist

Economist intelligence unit survey on LGBT rights in the workplace reveals disconnect between senior executives and junior employees.

At its second annual global Pride and Prejudice Summit, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has unveiled groundbreaking research around the status of LGBT people in the business world. The report, entitled Pride and Prejudice: Agents of change, is being released in conjunction with The Economist Events’ second annual Pride & Prejudice Summit, a global 24-hour event held on March 23 in Hong Kong, London and New York.

The Agents of change report, aligned to many of the topics being debated at today’s summit, was based on a global survey of over 1,000 professionals. Among its findings:

• When asked to identify which employee cohort is most likely to guide company thinking on LGBT diversity and inclusion, respondents chose young employees and senior executives as the top two groups, with 27 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
• Yet only 16 percent chose senior executives as the group most likely to support LGBT workplace diversity and inclusion, ranking this group a distant fourth place.
• 40 percent of junior staff said they don’t know who guides company thinking on LGBT diversity and inclusion, while only 16 percent of senior executive respondents said they don’t know.
• 33 percent of senior executives—versus only 13 percent of junior workers—said broader company leadership is most eager to support LGBT workplace diversity and inclusion.
• 37 percent of millennials believe there is a potential ROI/business opportunity in enacting LGBT-friendly workplace policies and practices—eight points higher than average.

“It’s such an important time for the issue of LGBT diversity in the workplace, and we want to look at the survey results with an eye toward continuing the positive momentum that’s been achieved in the past few years,” says Michael Gold, EIU editor and author of the report. “We believe it’s crucial to continue the conversation about what progress has been made, what progress can still be made—and how we can work together to help make it happen.”

In addition to young employees, women are also crucial in raising the status of LGBT people in the workplace, as they show consistently higher support for LGBT causes than men. The report also found that:

• 69 percent of women say corporate silence on LGBT inclusion is no longer acceptable, versus 54 percent of men.
• 75 percent of women believe companies must take a stand against government-supported policies that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, versus 63 percent of men.
• Women are 10 points more likely than men to say they want to work for a company that is an advocate for LGBT diversity and inclusion (64 percent versus 54 percent).

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s analysis of the survey findings has led to the creation of a suggested framework for achieving positive change for LGBT employees through three workplace groups: senior executive leaders, young people and women.

For more information on The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Pride and Prejudice: Agents of change visit www.eiu.com.

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