Huge number of LGBTIQ Australians aren’t out at work


Close to half of LGBTIQ Australians hide their sexual identity in the workplace, according to a new report.

The report from insurance company Lloyd’s found the 45 per cent of LGBTIQ people hiding their sexuality at work did so out of fear of career repercussions.

The company’s report also found six in 10 LGBTIQ Australians experience verbal homophobic abuse in their workplaces, and two in 10 experience physical violence.

The findings were presented this month as part of the international Dive In festival, an initiative by Lloyd’s to examine diversity and inclusion in workplaces.

“Research shows that when LGBTI staff are ‘openly out’ to all, businesses see a 15 to 30 per cent increase in productivity and retention rates improve by 10 per cent,” Lloyd’s general representative Chris Mackinnon said.

“If someone is spending half their energy hiding their reality, leading a dual life and making excuses, then they are not being authentic at work and they won’t be as engaged or productive.”

A 2012 report from LaTrobe University previously found 39 percent of Australian LGBTIQ people “usually” hid their sexuality or gender identity at work, with those aged 16-24 most likely to do so.

A 2011 study by New York’s Centre for Work-Life Policy found 48 percent of the LGBTIQ people surveyed weren’t out at work, but only 17 percent of those people weren’t out in their personal life either.

The Lloyd’s report was launched by the company’s chief executive Inga Beale, and the figures also showed one in five Australians reported experiencing discrimination because of their skin colour.

“We must make sure that we have practices that welcome everybody, whatever their background, their experience, whatever it is about them that perhaps makes them a little bit different,” she said.

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