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  • New research from LinkedIn suggests that the income of LGBT+* professionals in the UK is 16%, or £6,703, less on average than their straight counterparts
  • 38% of Brits who identify as straight think that LGB+ people should only be open about their sexuality in the workplace if it’s appropriate for the working environment
  • 1 in 4 LGBT+ workers surveyed are not out at work and almost half of these have no plans to do so in the future
  • 35% of LGBT+ respondents have heard or experienced comments that were homophobic with 21% experiencing some form of verbal abuse themselves. This is in stark contrast to the 8% of straight respondents saying they’ve witnessed an LGB+ colleague discriminated against or treated differently

New research from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, suggests that members of the UK’s LGBT+ community take home on average £6,703 less per year than their straight colleagues.


The research, conducted in partnership with leading LGBTQ+ organisation Black Pride, was carried out by YouGov, and surveyed 4,000 UK workers who identified as being straight, gay, bisexual or other. It reveals that prejudice is prevalent in the workplace, with 21% of LGBT+ respondents having experienced verbal abuse in the office. This may be why almost two thirds (61%) of LGBT+ workers admitted they have been made to feel uncomfortable at work.

The research follows a spike in activity around LinkedIn members discussing being out at work on the platform, with more than twice as many posts on LinkedIn during Pride month around this topic.

The findings show that a quarter (26%) of all LGBT+ workers surveyed are not out at work. Of these respondents who are not open about their LGB+ sexuality at work, over a quarter (28%) cited fear of judgement by their colleagues as a key reason, with 14% actually feeling that their chances of promotion in their company would be hindered if they were to come out. This comes as no surprise when 35% of the LGBT+ community have witnessed homophobic behaviour at work.

Constantly uncomfortable

The study also looked at the experiences of the transgender community, for which the income gap against their straight counterparts stands at a high 14%, or £5,340 of annual income. 20% of transgender respondents admitted to feeling constantly uncomfortable about their identity at work, while almost half (49%) of respondents had experienced judgmental comments from colleagues.

To tackle this, 44% of transgender respondents called for more to be done at work to accomodate diversity and inclusion, with 68% wanting a more supportive workplace. 60% of LBGT+ respondents also requested more transparency around company inclusion policies and 48% thought that more inspirational leaders telling their stories about coming out at work will help foster a more inclusive working environment.

Joshua Graff, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn said: “My experience of coming out at work came much later than coming out to close friends and family. 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 job. Pride is a fantastic celebration of how far LGBT+ rights have progressed, but the stories shared by LinkedIn members and the results of this research shows that we still have a long way to go.”

Phyll Opouku-Gyimah, UK Black Pride

Suki Sandhu OBE, CEO and Founder, INvolve commented: “Research like this from LinkedIn is incredibly important in reminding organisations that inclusion should be at the top of their agenda. Although we have seen progress in the workplace for LGBT+ people, it is clear that there are still substantial issues which can make it difficult for individuals to thrive professionally as their authentic selves. LGBT+ people are at all levels of a business, whether they’re out or not, so it’s crucial to have inclusive environments. It’s not only morally right, but it also strengthens the bottom line.”


Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Black Pride commented: “The more we hear from LGBTQ employees, the more we begin to understand that the fight for equality is far from over. Whilst it’s brilliant to see research like this highlighting the conversation, it’s vital that there is change in the day-to-day cultures of companies to help LGBTQ employees feel comfortable at work, including those of colour that may also be experiencing discrimination and racism.”

We would encourage organisations all over the world to find ways of working with organisations like UK Black Pride all year round (and not just during Pride month) to better incorporate meaningful and effective change in their organisations.”

The findings also reveal:

  • Of LGBT+ respondents who were not out in the workplace, 47% have no plans to come out in the future and a further 17% say they don’t want to be the first person to do so in office
  • Respondents were more likely to hide their sexuality at work if they identified as female (32%) as opposed to male (24%), and bisexual (46%) as opposed to either gay or lesbian (14%)
  • 16% of LGBT+ respondents believe their heterosexual colleagues progress quicker than them at work

Join the conversation on LinkedIn by using #OutOnLinkedIn.


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