45% of US LGBTQ employees think being “out” at work is a bad move


Pride month is here, but not all LGBTQ employees feel like celebrating.

A new survey commissioned by job site Glassdoor found that 45% of LGBTQ employees believe being “out” at work would hurt their opportunities for advancement. The survey was conducted among 6,179 employed adults in the US, aged 18 and older.

A further 55% said they overheard or were the subject of homophobic remarks made by co-workers, highlighting that workplace discrimination is still alive and well, despite an increasing focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

The numbers have shifted little from 2019, where 47% of those polled (pdf) said being “out” at work could hinder promotions or even cost them their job, while 53% recalled anti-LGBTQ+ remarks being made at work.

“This survey data shines a light on the LGBTQ+ employee experience and is a reminder that many companies still have progress to make,” said Tyler Murphy, a Glassdoor career trends expert.

He added: “When looking for an LGBTQ-friendly company to work for, keep an eye out for things like LGBTQ+ employee resource groups or LGBTQ+ benefits and inclusive language in their job listings.”

Office discrimination aside, data shows that lower pay and lack of legal protections for many LGBTQ workers in the US continue to be barriers to equitable workplaces.

Charted: Where LGBTQ+ workers lack legal protections against discrimination

LGBTQ+ employees face a wage gap in the US

Whether or not one is “out” at work, several studies have found that LGBTQ employees are getting paid less than their peers.

A paper published in the Social Science Research Network last year found that LGBTQ individuals in the US earned 22% less than heterosexual cisgender individuals a decade out from graduation.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBTQ advocacy organization, surveyed over 7,000 queer workers in 2021 and found their median wages were 10% lower that of a “typical” US worker based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That gap broadened for queer Black and Native American workers, which HRC found earned 80 cents and 70 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by a straight, cisgender worker.

The best places to work, according to LGBTQ+ employees

LGBTQ employees ranked Google, Microsoft, and supermarket chain H E B as the best places to work in 2022 on Glassdoor. The company review site also reported that on average LGBTQ employees rate companies lower than other workers, with transgender employees—who face higher levels of workplace discrimination—giving the lowest ratings.

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