A recent study by the LGBTQ+ employment platform myGwork has brought to light a significant trend among the younger generation entering the workforce: a third of students and graduates now identify under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.
This demographic shift underscores the increasing diversity in sexual orientations and gender identities among Gen Z, poised to reshape workplace dynamics with their distinct expectations for inclusivity and authenticity.
The survey, which gathered responses from over 2,000 students and recent graduates across the globe, indicates that 36% of participants identify as LGBTQ+. The breakdown of this figure reveals a spectrum of identities, with nine percent identifying as bisexual, nine percent as gay, five percent as queer, and three percent as lesbian.
Additionally, 13% of respondents identify with other LGBTQ+ categories, such as asexual, pansexual, queer, and genderqueer, highlighting the broadening recognition of diverse sexual identities among the younger generation.
A striking 75% of those surveyed expressed hesitancy to join organisations where they cannot be their authentic selves, citing fears of discrimination, bias, and limited opportunities for advancement. This apprehension points to a critical challenge for employers: fostering workplace environments that not only tolerate but celebrate diversity and enable all employees to thrive.
The visibility of LGBTQ+ role models in leadership positions emerged as a key factor influencing the job choices of LGBTQ+ graduates. The absence of such figures can significantly dampen their optimism about career progression within a company. Approximately 80% of respondents believe that their sexual and gender identity will hinder their ascent to senior roles, underscoring the need for representation at the highest levels of corporate hierarchies.
The survey also sheds light on the experiences of discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ students and graduates, both in the workplace and academic settings. Thirty-six percent reported experiencing direct discrimination, such as homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia, with nearly half witnessing such prejudice. LGBTQ+ students and graduates from marginalised ethnic and racial backgrounds reported even higher rates of discrimination, highlighting intersectional challenges within the community.
The importance of active corporate allyship was another significant finding, with 80% of LGBTQ+ respondents indicating they would be reluctant to join companies that have reduced support for the LGBTQ+ community. This sentiment reflects a broader disillusionment with the level of genuine inclusivity efforts by organisations, with only five percent of LGBTQ+ students and graduates believing that companies are doing enough to foster a fully inclusive environment.
In light of these findings, myGwork’s co-founders, Adrien and Pierre Gaubert, emphasise the need for employers to understand and meet the expectations of LGBTQ+ students and recent graduates. By prioritising inclusivity and visibility of LGBTQ+ role models, companies can attract and retain talent from the queerest generation of workplace cohorts yet, paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive future.