This summary post is presented by IPR courtesy of the authors Marco Ziegler and Christine Rauh at Accenture. Read the full report here. 

By some basic measures, LGBT+ employees in many parts of the world have progressed in the workplace. However, behind the outward signs of progress, LGBT+ employees experience often unseen—but deeply felt—challenges and privately held fears on the job. Our research reveals the impact this has on their ability to thrive and shares proven ways to help them advance while being themselves.

In much of the world, the LGBT+ community has made great strides toward ‘equal.’ For instance, prior to 2001 same-sex marriage was not legal in a single country; today it is legal in 29 countries. And on the career front, Accenture surveyed more than 28,000 employees in organizations across 26 countries reveals that at the global level, LGBT+ employees are just as likely as others to have reached manager level, to be satisfied with their progression and to aspire to senior leadership positions. In fact, 37% of LGBT+ employees taking part in our survey had reached manager level, versus 35% among non-LGBT+ respondents. And while 27% of LGBT+ employees aspire to be in a leadership position, just 24% of other employees do.

An online survey of 28,000 LGBTQ employees in organizations across 26 countries was conducted from October through November 2019.

Key Findings:

  • 31% of LGBTQ employees are fully open about their gender identity/expression or sexual orientation at work.
  • This figure falls to 21% among those in senior leadership positions.
  • 57% of employees believe their gender identity/expression or sexual orientation has slowed their progress at work.
  • 71% of LGBTQ employees say “seeing people like me” in senior leadership positions is important to helping them thrive.
  • 71% of respondents say that the support of their non-LGBTQ colleagues is “important to their ability to enjoy being at work.”

The findings of this study indicate that there are changes to be made in the workplace in order for LGBTQ employees to feel supported at work. The study conclusion suggests five ways for employers to address cultural issues:

  • Senior leaders should talk openly about their own personal issues and challenges to convey bold leadership.
  • Comprehensive action should be taken to ensure that flexible working arrangements are available and properly supported and encouraged.
  • The workplace should be an empowering environment in which minority employees are able to settle in quickly and thrive from the outset.
  • Employees should know that it is okay to fail at work sometimes without fear or recrimination.
  • Employees should feel safe raising concerns with (and about) leaders, especially when it comes to discrimination.

Implications for the Industry
Employers in the public relations industry should evaluate their current policies and work environment to make sure they are treating every employee with equally. By taking the suggested steps outlined in the study, employers may foster a more inclusive work environment for all employees.

Read the full report to discover how the LBGTQ+ employee experience influences their ability to succeed at work.

Ziegler, M., & Rauh, C. (2020). Visible Growth; Invisible Fears Getting to Equal 2020: Pride. Retrieved from

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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