Of 60% LGBTQ+ employees that faced harassment, 73% did not report the incident: Careernet Prism report

Careernet’s latest study, ‘The State of LGBTQ+ Hiring in India,’ provides valuable insights into the employment of LGBTQ+ people across various sectors.

Over 50% of the surveyed LGBTQ+ workforce considers their workplace LGBTQ+ friendly and have allies at their workplace

Bengaluru, 05th July 2023: Careernet Prism, an initiative of Careernet, a leading talent solutions provider, recently conducted an extensive market study involving LGBTQ+ candidates and D&I leaders to gain insights into the current “State of LGBTQ+ Hiring in India”. The findings of this study have been compiled into a comprehensive report, shedding light on the prevailing trends, challenges, and work conditions of the Indian LGBTQ+ employees and inclusion policies at various workplaces.

Among the respondents, 50% of the candidates have been open about their community identity at their workplace and feel their organisation openly embraces and supports the queer community. 69% of the total participants mentioned that their current job is in line with their qualifications. 25% were in a different field with lower pay than their qualifications and experience. Overall, candidates who are out and supported in the workplace have greater trust in their employers, are more satisfied with their rate of promotions, feel that their performance is judged more fairly, and are generally more comfortable in their interactions with their managers and colleagues. More importantly, their stress levels are lower and are more likely to continue with the same organisation in the future. However, it is important to note that irrespective of whether someone is out or not, the majority of respondents consider their workplace to be LGBTQ+ friendly and express a strong preference for working in organisations that actively promote inclusivity.

According to the survey findings, 58% of the participants noted a positive change in organisations as they actively strive to create a safe and inclusive workplace environment. These respondents consider their workplace LGBTQ+ friendly and have allies at the workplace, making them feel secure. Conversely, individuals from the LGBTQ+ community feel insecure about voicing their concerns, as they often perceive negative experiences to be marginalised or overlooked. According to the report, out of the 60% of LGBTQ+ employees that faced harassment, 73% did not report the incidents because they felt it was minor or not severe enough.

Commenting on the report, Mr S Pasupathi, Chief Operating Officer of Careernet, said, “Diversity and inclusion policies are instrumental in facilitating a harmonious environment for any organisation. Celebrating differences is a stepping stone to embracing diversity. 46% of the participants consider HR and diversity policies decisive factors for joining an organisation. We believe that HR practices incorporating D&I policies are crucial in fostering a culture that encourages LGBTQ+ employees to unleash their growth potential by being their authentic selves. Workplaces should cultivate a secure environment and create a sense of belonging among every member of the organisation to reach greater heights of innovation and prosperity.”

Although there is visible corporate support regarding inclusion in most workplaces in India, the report accentuates the need for implementing more D&I policies with a measurable impact on the LGBTQ+ community. Merely 20% of employees from the LGBTQ+ community have signed up as members of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). On the other hand, 18% of respondents noted that their organisation has an ERG for the LGBTQ+ community globally, but such a resource group does not exist in India. A majority of 62% feel that their employer lacks any ERG policy altogether. However, the responses from the D&I leaders indicate that 43% of employers have supportive ERGs for queer employees, of which 67% are dedicated to women employees, including LGBTQ+ individuals who identify themselves as she/her and 33% to other diversities.

Even though half of the participants feel valued at their work and find it meaningful and constructively challenging, there is a significant shortcoming regarding awareness about the LGBTQ+ community among coworkers. Currently, only 15-20% of all employees at any given organisation are sensitised on issues related to the LGBTQ+ community.

Where various sectors in India have increased diversity hiring efforts, trends indicate that the BFSI sector is the most welcoming of LGBTQ candidates (34%), followed by IT (22%), and Consulting (19%).

Careernet interacted with several D&I experts on hiring and retention challenges and discovered that the lack of LGBTQ+ hiring can be attributed to a lack of tangible and authentic sources, a mismatch of qualifications and job descriptions, and the toughness of convincing top leadership and team managers to hire or retain queer candidates. According to the study, 43% of leaders highlighted that the retention rate of professionals from the LGBTQ+ community in their respective organisations exceeds 70%, while an additional 43% reported retaining at least 50% of LGBTQ+ candidates.

Although 70% of companies aim to recruit 3-5% of their employee strength from the queer community, they were able to achieve only 1.5-2% last year. This suggests that last year, only around 50% of LGBTQ+ talent was recruited for open positions, representing a lack of hiring initiatives in place specifically for the queer community. The D&I leaders also indicated that they face a big challenge in matching minimum skill criteria for the roles, even seeking only a 60% match of job role descriptions.

Key Takeaways of the Report:

50% of candidates who have been out at work about their community feel that their organisation openly supports the queer community

58% Consider their workplace LGBTQ+ friendly and have allies at the workplace

46% Consider HR/diversity policies as a significant factor before they decide to join an organisation

Half the candidates feel that their work is meaningful and challenges them positively

The majority of the respondents want all coworkers to be educated about the LGBTQ+ community at work, rather than just 15-20% at the moment

73% candidates out of the 60% of those who faced discriminatory incidents never reported the same and chose to remain silent

20% of the participants have access to ERG benefits

75% of the respondents feel that their organisation needs to put extra effort into making the workplace more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community

Trends indicate that the BFSI sector is the most welcoming of LGBTQ candidates (34%), followed by IT (22%) and Consulting (19%)

Methodology: The study was conducted among 105 LGBTQ+ employees in India, and around 20 D&I leaders participated in qualitative interviews, sharing experiences and anecdotes on key issues. The results of the study reveal experiences of workplace harassment, discriminatory treatment, and lack of viable job opportunities faced by the community. Additionally, the report highlights the lack of LGBTQ+ representation in the workplace, leading to neglect of their concerns and grievances.

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