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Diversity in the labour force in terms of age, gender, ethnic origin, disability and sexual orientation has grown substantially over recent decades. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more and more visible in society generally and in the workforce in particular. The business case for ensuring your organisation’s diversity policies and practices include lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have never been stronger.
Did you know?
Lesbian, gay and bisexual people make up an estimated 150,000 members of the Irish workforce. A majority of the Irish workforce comes from one or more diverse grounds including gender, age and sexual orientation.
Organisational reputation is hugely important and becomes more so as the world becomes more competitive and consumers and service users become more demanding. Addressing issues of sexual orientation demonstrates that an organisation is open, creative, courageous and forward-thinking.
Compliance and Risk mitigation
The largest ruling by the Equality Tribunal for discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation was €49,700 made in 2008. Over 1 in 4 Irish LGB people surveyed had experienced verbal harassment at work. Almost 1 in 10 missed work as a result. Employers must provide pension and workplace benefits equally to civil partners and married couples.
Talent driven companies understand that talent and creativity reside in diverse workforces. Research shows that LGB employees who are ‘out’ in safe work environments earn 50 per cent more than their ‘closeted peers’. Conversely, more than half of gay or lesbian employees facing discrimination report a direct negative work impact.
Recruitment and retention
Retaining expensively trained, nurtured and motivated staff is a key priority in terms of human resources and company reputation. The values of diversity and inclusion play an increasingly important part in organisation’s ability to attract, retain and enhance talent. In an Irish survey, workplace equality was the single most important equality issue for LGB people. Two in five lesbian and gay staff facing discrimination will change careers if the discrimination continues.
Business and Service Opportunities Organisations whose workforces are diverse better reflect and understand the needs of their customers. The annual income of LGB people in Ireland was €7.5 billion in 2009.