Hiring goes beyond simply finding new talent. It’s about fostering an environment that is inclusive, supportive, and makes people want to stick around for the long haul. To make sure your recruitment process embraces diversity, it’s crucial to grasp the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals. So, how can you attract LGBTQ+ talent and make sure they feel safe, valued, and totally respected at work? Let’s dive in and find out.

Understanding Challenges Faced by LGBTQ+ Talent

Even subtle biases can undermine diverse hiring efforts, so it’s important to have a thorough understanding of what are the challenges workplaces are throwing at LGBTQ+ talent to make sure you won’t make the same mistakes.

The LGBTQ+ community encounters challenges right from the beginning of their job search. Discrimination remains a significant concern, with around 24% facing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity when seeking employment. This discrimination is often detected through the presence or absence of information in job postings. Surprisingly, less than 25% of U.S. job postings explicitly include LGBTQ+ workers in equal employment opportunity statements, despite them being 79% more likely to apply for jobs with such statements.

Once recruited, workplace discrimination and harassment persists as challenges for employees in the community. Over the past five years, 31% have experienced mistreatment in the workplace, and 57% experienced discrimination or harassment. In addition, transgender employees face unique difficulties, with higher rates altering their appearance and bathroom use while at work, compared to cisgender LGBT employees. Additionally, 37% of gay and lesbian employees feel compelled to modify their presentation at work.

Discrimination not only causes discomfort and fear but also hinders career advancement. LGBTQ+ individuals fear that being open about their identity could impede their professional growth.

Provided as a safe and nurturing space for well-being, 81% of LGBTQ+ workers find employee resource groups (ERGs) help create a comfortable workplace. Regrettably, only 34% indicate that their company offers an LGBTQ+ ERG. Moreover, despite 77% recognizing the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in leadership, a significant majority (67%) report the absence of openly LGBTQ+ executives or leaders.

But the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ employees extend beyond their mental health. These individuals consistently earn less than their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts, with LGBTQ+ workers averaging only 90 cents for every dollar earned by their peers. Non-binary, genderqueer, genderfluid and Two-Spirit workers face even more substantial disparities, earning approximately 70 cents for every dollar.

Promoting Inclusion: Your Role as a Recruiter or TA Professional

Tackling all the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ talent can seem daunting. However, creating an inclusive workplace is not an overnight task, and you are not alone in this. Even small steps taken consistently can make a real impact. This workplace evaluation checklist is here to help you out in creating environments where both prospective and current LGBTQ+ employees can truly thrive.

  • Are our job postings inclusive, explicitly mentioning LGBTQ+ individuals in equal employment opportunity statements, showcasing our commitment to diversity and inclusion?
  • Do we highlight LGBTQ+-friendly benefits like health care services with LGBTQ+-friendly providers, diversity training, and mental health support to attract and support talent?
  • Are our policies inclusive, with features like gender-neutral bathrooms and an inclusive dress code, creating a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ employees?
  • Have we updated our company records to respect preferred pronouns and new names, demonstrating our commitment to gender identity and expression?
  • Do we have active Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that provide a sense of community and support for employees?
  • Are we engaging in social media advocacy during Pride Month and other significant LGBTQ+ milestones, publicly expressing our support and dedication to the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Do we consistently use inclusive language in all our internal and external communications, fostering a culture of respect and acceptance?
  • Are we encouraging employees to include their pronouns in email signatures, creating an inclusive and affirming communication environment?
  • Are our interview panels diverse, representing different ages, ethnicities, and genders, to ensure a fair and unbiased evaluation of LGBTQ+ candidates?
  • Are we actively seeking feedback from LGBTQ+ employees and monitoring our progress in creating an LGBTQ+-friendly workplace?

Please revisit this checklist regularly, and I look forward to seeing you check off all the boxes.

Anh Nguyen

Anh Nguyen spent over two years at a Singapore tech recruitment startup, where she worked as a content lead and gained first-hand experience in using HR software to hire and manage remote candidates. Today, Anh continues to pursue her passion for HRTech as a writer for Select Software Reviews , where she shares her knowledge of Tech, people management, and software selection.