New research finds that LGBT+ employees have lower rates of job satisfaction, feel less psychologically safe whilst at work and are more likely to face harrassment and conflict. 

A new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has analysed the various challenges that LGBT+ workers face whilst at work.

Research shows that LGB+ (lesbian, gay and bisexual workers) and transgender workers report higher levels of workplace conflict than heterosexual, cisgender workers.

Specifically, two-fifths of LGB+ employees (40 per cent) said they had faced workplace conflict over the last year in comparison to almost three in 10 (29 per cent) heterosexual employees.

In addition to this, transgender workers fared much worse with over half (55 per cent) reporting that they faced conflict in the workplace.

The research also suggested that there was room for improvement regarding how the issue was resolved.

Almost half of LGB+ workers (44 per cent) who experienced being humiliated or undermined stated that the situation had not been resolved. Over a third of respondents (38 per cent) stated that the conflict had only been partially resolved, leaving only a very small minority of employees that felt the conflict had been completely dealt with.

Employees that are LGB+ also were more likely to report lower rates of job satisfaction and psychological safety.

In comparison to heterosexual workers, of which over four in five (85 per cent) stated that they had ‘somewhat’ to ‘very good’ working relationships, only 80 per cent of LGB+ and three-quarters of transgender employees (75 per cent) felt the same.

When questioned about job satisfaction, only half of transgender employees (50 per cent) felt satisfied in their job. Trans employees were also most likely to feel actively dissatisfied with their job (33 per cent) whilst less than a fifth of heterosexual employees (15 per cent) felt the same.

Additionally, one in six LGB+ (16 per cent) and just under a fifth (18 per cent) of transgender employees felt psychologically unsafe at work. Only one in 10 heterosexual workers  (10 per cent) reported feeling this too.

As such, the CIPD made various recommendations on how organisations can work on making a more inclusive culture for LGBT+ employees:

  • Ensuring that anti-discrimination policies and practices are fit for purpose and carried out throughout the organisation
  • Policies should set clear expectations of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, with practical examples
  • Ensuring people feel able to report conflict and that it is investigated seriously
  • Building a peer support and allyship network that LGBT+ employees can approach as the first point of contact when they have faced bullying and harassment
  • Fostering positive and inclusive work relationships. Enabling opportunities to create a shared purpose.
  • Encouraging conversations about the value of inclusion and understanding people’s differences, and why they are important
  • Gain buy-in and support from senior leadership – this is vital for building more inclusive workplaces

Wilson Wong, Head of Insight and Futures at CIPD, said:

People professionals have a leading role to play in promoting good work and developing inclusion at work. For LGBT+ employees, this means taking a granular, consultative approach to understand barriers to inclusion within organisations, and creating safe spaces for LGBT+ employees to share their lived experience, as well as building confidence that harassment and bullying will be dealt with.

We hope that the research insights and practice recommendations in this report will highlight potential barriers to LGBT+ inclusion at work, and a basis from which to tackle these.


*This research was obtained from the CIPD’s ‘Inclusion at work: Perspectives on LGBT+ working lives’ report which was published in February 2021.

The body drew on four sources of data including: pooled data from the CIPD’s 2018, 2019 and 2020 Good Work Index to understand experiences of LGB+employees, one bespoke survey on trans working lives, an additional survey on trans allyship and insights from senior people professional roundtables on LGBT+ inclusion.