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Visible LGBTQ+ role model leaders are key to attracting Gen Z Talent

The presence of visible LGBTQ+ role models in senior positions plays a crucial role in attracting Gen Z talent, especially given that over a third of this group identify as LGBTQ+.

As the UK celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month, numerous organisations are commemorating the event through educational initiatives, demonstrating their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, while actively seeking to attract and retain a diverse pool of talent. According to myGwork’s latest survey released to coincide with the event, the presence of visible LGBTQ+ role models in senior positions plays a crucial role in attracting Gen Z talent, especially given that approximately a third (36%) of this group identify as LGBTQ+.

Our research reveals that a compelling 80% of LGBTQ+ students and recent graduates consider the visibility of LGBTQ+ role models in leadership roles as a significant factor influencing their decision to accept a job offer from a prospective employer. Interestingly, students of colour place a slightly higher importance on having visible LGBTQ+ role models and allies in leadership positions compared to their White counterparts.

The absence of such role models in a workplace can dissuade young LGBTQ+ Gen Z individuals from applying for jobs, as they may struggle to envision their own progress and advancement within those organisations. This sentiment is shared by 80% of LGBTQ+ students and graduates surveyed, who feel that being LGBTQ+ poses a challenge to reaching senior leadership positions.

The report also underscores the preferences of today’s young LGBTQ+ professionals, of which one-third identify as asexual, pansexual, or queer. They express a desire to work in open and accepting environments, with three-quarters of LGBTQ+ respondents hesitant to join organisations where they cannot be their authentic selves due to fear of discrimination, bias, and limited opportunities for training or development.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity remains a prevalent concern, with 48% of LGBTQ+ students/graduates having witnessed it at their place of study or work, compared to 32% of non-LGBTQ+ students. Furthermore, 36% of LGBTQ+ students and graduates have personally experienced discrimination. Notably,  those from marginalised ethnic and racial groups report witnessing and experiencing more discrimination compared to their White counterparts.

The research also emphasises the crucial role of active corporate allyship, with 80% of respondents expressing reluctance to join companies that have recently withdrawn support for the LGBTQ+ community. This finding underscores the need for employers to carefully consider the impact of withdrawing support for the LGBTQ+ community on their talent recruitment and retention programmes. Currently, the majority of all students and graduates, whether they identify as LGBTQ+ or not, believe that organisations simply aren’t taking sufficient proactive action to be LGBTQ+ inclusive.

In addition to highlighting industries perceived as LGBTQ+ friendly, myGwork’s survey identifies key factors that influence the employment choices of savvy Gen Z LGBTQ+ professionals about to embark on their career journeys. Our report’s key findings show that they specifically look for transparent LGBTQ+-inclusive policies and relevant benefits, as well as visible LGBTQ+ role models in leadership positions, and external support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Organisations that go beyond offering the standard diversity, equity and inclusion policies and benefits, by ensuring they are LGBTQ+ inclusive, stand a much higher chance of attracting and retaining Gen Z professionals. In an era where inclusion and belonging are critical to progressive workplaces, myGwork’s latest research serves as an invaluable guide for organisations seeking to create fair and inclusive environments conducive to attracting the talent they need to succeed.

Full report click here

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