UK: Being Gay At Work – New Gay Market Research Reveals Most Gays and Lesbians Think Being ’Out’ Can Harm Their Careers
UK: New research reveals that most gays and lesbians worry being openly gay harms promotion prospects
– Harassment problems reported by many gays and lesbians in UK workplaces
The most comprehensive market research study ever undertaken of the UK gay and lesbian community reveals most gays and lesbians think coming out as gay can harm their careers.
These first findings from the ’Out Now 2008 Millivres Gay Market Study’ reveal new information about being gay at work in the UK.
For the first time ever in a large-scale research study, gays and lesbians were asked whether they thought being openly gay at work can harm their prospects for promotion.
The vast majority of respondents – 82% of lesbians and 75% of gay men – say that being open with everyone at work about being gay is not a good career move.
One in eight said that being out as gay at work would “definitely” hold back their job promotion prospects.
For the first time in a gay market research project, respondents were asked about whether coming out at work is still an issue these days. For most respondents it definitely is. Fewer than one in five female respondents (18%) and one in four male respondents (25%) said being openly gay at work would not cause any harm to their career prospects for promotion at work.
Leading global gay strategy consulting company, Out Now, carried out the new research amongst users of Britain’s most respected gay media: GT, Pink Paper and DIVA.
14% of respondents were harassed at work in the UK last year because they were perceived to be lesbian or gay.
Two out of three respondents rate their own employer as less than perfect in how they treat their own lesbian and gay employees.
According to Out Now the results show workplace gay Equality and Diversity policies are not filtering down into actual day-to-day life at work.
Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now said: “One of the worrying things is that some companies enter into the Stonewall Diversity Champions program, and are then highly rated in the Workplace Equality Index, but workers in these same workplaces report suffering personal harassment and discrimination at work” Johnson said.
“Widespread mainstream media reporting on the top 100 employers can make it seem like the problem of being openly gay at work is no longer an issue. These figures show that just is not the case. More than one person in every eight said they were harassed at work last year for being gay” Johnson said. “The fact that two out of every three respondents think their own employer treats gay staff less than perfectly is – in 2008 – rather depressing”
“One of the particularly worrying results is that so many gays and lesbians are concerned that coming out as gay at work can harm their career prospects” Johnson said. “Concealing your sexuality at work takes a lot of energy – energy that could be far more productively used in building better workplace relations – based on mutual trust and respect – between everyone at work”
Joseph Galliano, editor of GT says: “We’ve made massive moves towards equality in a very short period of time but gay people don’t yet feel those gains are totally secure. We need to ensure that changes in legislation translate into deeper cultural transformations.”
The survey results are reported on in the April issue of GT magazine, the UK’s largest paid circulation magazine for gay men.
Notes to editors:
6% of UK adults are believed to be lesbian or gay. Source: Out Now Consulting, 1994 and 2005. Whitehall, 2005.
For copyright reasons, any reference to this information must include the following research reference: “Out Now 2008 Millivres Gay Market Study “. Sample size is 1231 respondents, comprised of lesbians and gay men, drawn from across the UK between September 2007 and January 2008.
Further information is available online at
Ian Johnson, CEO
Out Now Consulting
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