How to combat the LGBT pay gap

LGBT Pay Gap - Pride flags

There has been plenty in the news recently about the LGBT pay gap. If you didn’t read about it here’s our take on the latest findings and what to do to combat this type of inequality.

When we talk about the ‘pay gap’, most of us think about gender pay gap and how gender still plays a role in our earnings. But new research has identified a different pay gap; not to do with men and women, but how being straight or LGBT alters the figure on your paycheques. Lesbian, gay, bi, and trans workers are paid £6,700 per year less than straight colleagues, the recent YouGov study for LinkedIn identified, which equates to a sixteen percent gap in pay.

Preparations are taking place for one of Europe’s largest LGBT events this Saturday, Pride in London. More than one million attendees are expected to come out for diversity and acceptance, as well as celebrate the past fifty years of progress for the lives of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. Whilst poignant celebrations like this take place and LGBT people are generally living happier and more open lives, it’s easy to forget the ongoing inequalities still facing many LGBT people, both in and out of the workplace.

LGBT discrimination findings

This recent pay gap finding highlights that people are still discriminated against based upon sexuality and gender identity. As well as the sixteen percent gap in pay between LGBT and heterosexual, cis-gendered workers, YouGov found other areas of concern regarding the treatment and wellbeing of LGBT employees here in the UK. The study of four thousand LGBT staff found that twenty-one percent have experienced verbal abuse at work, with more than six in ten having been made to feel uncomfortable at work, and a third having witnessed workplace homophobia.

These facts aren’t too dissimilar to UK Government findings around this time last year in the world’s largest National LGBT Survey. A worrying twenty-four percent of the 108,000 respondents had accessed mental health services in the twelve months prior to the survey; two in five experienced either verbal or physical abuse due to their sexuality or gender identity in the twelve months prior; and more than two-thirds admitted to avoiding holding their partner’s hand in public due to concerns over safety. Possibly the most worrying finding of this survey is that more than nine in ten of the most serious attacks on LGBT people go unreported, often because the victim thinks ‘it happens all the time’.

Combat discrimination, build diversity

At the EW Group, we have a rich heritage of 28 years’ experience working with our clients towards a diverse and inclusive future. Follow our tips below to help build your own inclusive culture:

Embrace diversity

This is a simple change for your current employees to see how their organisation values diversity and inclusion. Look at the hierarchal structure of your organisation to see how diversity is dispersed around different levels and departments. What does your leadership team say to female or Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees about their potential to progress? Candidates from under-represented groups can be encouraged to apply for jobs by simply stating “we particularly value applications from female, LGBT, Black candidates…”.

Be vocal about diversity

Celebrating diversity – by hosting panel talks about female leaders, celebrating Black History Month, attending LGBT Pride as a work team, to name a few – are good ways to build a knowingly accepting team that will attract diverse talent. See our blog on How to support Pride at work for more information of building a year-round commitment to LGBT inclusion.

Show your commitment to diversity through your leadership

Let your employees know it’s good for them to bring their whole self to work by having a leadership that is both diverse and passionate about D&I.

Support diversity

Employees being part of network groups can implement huge changes within an organisation. We’ve worked with great companies who see the rewards of empowering their disability, women’s, LGBT and Muslim networks.

Stand against discrimination

What does it say to your employees of minority groups if you’re willing to work with an organisation renowned for prejudice? Make a big step forward by cutting out any form of prejudice or discrimination from your business actions.

Acknowledge your organisation’s potential problem with diversity

Due to the size of some companies, it’s impossible to guarantee that there are no problems regarding D&I in your organisation. The EW Group offers bespoke diversity training, analysis and audits and we can help you to move the needle on D&I, no matter what your starting point.

Many of the leading organisations in their fields have taken similar steps to maximise diversity and inclusion. How companies deal with diversity and equality now shapes the workplace and society of tomorrow.

Related Reading

How to build diverse and inclusive cultures
Leading by inclusive example
How to be an inclusive leader in 10 steps
Ethnicity pay gap in the UK

For more information on how to close LGBT or gender pay gaps

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