Almost half of LGBTQI+ workers say they have faced discrimination or prejudice at work due to their sexuality or gender identity, according to research from Randstad UK, with worrying signs emerging that inclusivity in the workplace has stalled.

Almost a third of LGBTQI+ employees surveyed said the discrimination they faced at work had become worse in the past five years, with almost 40 per cent saying they felt more isolated in their workplace than they did five years ago.

In a poll of 350 workers in the UK undertaken in April, just under half (47 per cent) agreed with the statement: “Throughout my career, I have faced discrimination or prejudice at work due to my sexuality or gender identity.”

Almost four in every ten (38 per cent) people surveyed said they believed their sexuality or gender identity has affected their remuneration. Respondents who identified as male were more likely to report that their sexuality or gender-identity had impacted their remuneration or progression, compared to only 35 per cent of those who identified as female.

More than a third (36 per cent) said their sexuality or gender identity has negatively affected their long-term career.

Discrimination is clearly not a thing of the past either, with four in ten (41 per cent) worried discrimination would hold back their career progression in the future, too.


Employers are being affected, too, with 43 per cent of employees agreeing with the statement: “I have been less motivated or productive at work because I can’t be myself”.

More than a third of employees said they preferred to work remotely due to their workplace not being an inclusive environment. And 42 per cent of respondents said they did not feel comfortable talking about their sexuality or gender identity at work.

Almost a third (32 per cent) reported having quit a job because of how uncomfortable they felt in the workplace, due to their sexuality or gender identity.

Employers are also losing out on potential new hires — 40 per cent of respondents said they had been too afraid of discrimination to apply for a job.

Victoria Short, the chief executive of Randstad UK ,said:

These results should be a massive wake-up call for employers. When 43 per cent of workers feel less motivated because they can’t be themselves at work, it’s clear that inclusivity is not just a moral imperative — it’s a business one.

Victoria Short, the chief executive of Randstad UK


Half of respondents said that “My employer’s contribution to Pride and LGBTQI+ initiatives feel tokenistic”. For those who chose not to identify as male or female, more than seven in ten (71 per cent) said that they believe this to be the case.

Almost two-thirds, (65 per cent) said they believed their employer needs to introduce internal policies for a more inclusive workplace — such as inclusive job ads, training or business resource groups.

While a small majority (58 per cent) believed their employer needs to take a stance on LGBTQI+ issues in a public forum ― via media engagement or social media activity (58 per cent) — a larger number (66 per cent) wanted their employer to take a stance on LGBTQI+ issues internally.

Almost seven in ten (69 per cent) agreed that “The responsibility for fostering an inclusive environment for LGBTQI+ workers lies with my employer”.


The research highlighted some more positive trends. More than half of respondents said they have LGBTQI+ role models in their workplace (51 per cent).

A larger proportion reported that their colleagues are active allies for the LGBTQI+ community (58 per cent) — while 54 per cent described the leadership of their organisation as “active allies for the LGBTQI+ community”.

More than three in five (62 per cent) of those polled agreed with the statement: “My employer has taken meaningful action to create an equitable workplace for LGBTQI+ employees”.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.