Less than one in five Irish adults think LGBT+ professionals have equal opportunities in the workplace

New research shows a closeted and unwelcoming workplace culture for LGBT+ professionals in Ireland along with an increase in allyship from colleagues.

generic modern workplace

After a Pride where corporate Ireland was made highly visible, research commissioned by LinkedIn has shown that just under one in five Irish adults believe that Irish workplaces offer equal opportunities for LGBT+ professionals.

The online study, conducted by Coyne Research in May of 2019, surveyed 1,000 adults aged 18+ in a nationally representative sample.

The survey also found the following statistics:

  • Approximately 20% of LGBT+ professionals sometimes feel uncomfortable in the workplace due to their sexuality.
  • Just three in 10 Irish adults agree that LGBT+ professionals should be open about their sexuality in the workplace.
  • Only one-third of the LGBT+ community are fully open with everyone in their workplace about their sexuality, including their direct manager.

Although much social progress has been made since the 2015 marriage equality referendum, these statistics highlight both the subtle and overt ways in which queer people face discrimination and unwelcoming workplace environments in Ireland.

The report continues that approximately one in 10 Irish professionals said that they had seen an LGBT+ colleague discriminated against or treated differently to straight colleagues. Of those who saw discrimination against LGBT+ colleagues in the workplace, 46% said they witnessed homophobic comments, with 42% noticing assumptions being made about an LGBT+ colleague’s personality or characteristics. 

This discrimination also manifests into out-of-work events, as it was found that 14% of Irish professionals witnessed an incident where an LGBT+ colleague was not invited on a night out and 9% said they saw an LGBT+ colleague left out of a workplace sports team.

A lack of LGBT+ people in leadership positions was also discovered in the survey, with just 1 in 5 Irish workers surveyed saying that an openly LGBT+ professional is part of their organisation’s leadership team.

Those surveyed did want to see improved conditions, with 58% of surveyed professionals from the LGBT+ community said they felt Irish employers should do more to support LGBT+ staff. Overall two in five Irish professionals would like to see employers creating a more supportive environment for people to come out at work.

Commenting on the findings, Lisa Finnegan, LinkedIn Senior HR Director EMEA & LATAM, said: “There has been great progress in recent years to make Irish society fairer and more inclusive. However, our research shows that there is still a lot of progress to be made in the workplace, with the majority of the public believing that the LGBT+ community do not have equal opportunities when it comes to their professional lives. It is also concerning that workplace discrimination remains an ongoing problem and that one-fifth of LGBT+professionals at times feel uncomfortable at work due to their sexuality.”

Ms Finnegan added, “Change starts by accepting that there is a problem. Then it’s a question of identifying the causes of the problem and putting solutions in place to help address it. To create an inclusive workplace environment, employers need to put support programmes in place and get everyone to work together to tackle discrimination.”

In more positive findings, two in three straight professionals consider themselves to be an LGBT+ ally in the workplace and would intervene in active discrimination against an LGBT+ colleague. Almost half of the Irish professionals have seen an increase in the number of LGBT+ allies in the workplace since the marriage equality referendum. 

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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