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This article is also available in: Português

A study called Why the First Year Matters for LGTBQ+ Employees, carried out by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), revealed that Brazil has a long way to go in raising awareness about diversity and inclusion in the corporate environment. According to the survey, 77% of Brazilian employees who identify themselves as LGBTQIA+ claim to have already suffered some type of discrimination at work – worldwide, the average was 58%.

The survey also revealed that 11% of LGBTQIA+ Brazilians believe that talking about their own sexuality at work is something positive. 29% do not agree with this statement and think that it can harm their careers. The global average was 23% seeing the issue as positive and 24% as negative.

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Also according to the study, 99% of LGBTQIA+ respondents have already disclosed their sexuality to their friends, 90% to their family and 87% to colleagues. However, only 49% raised this issue in the company they work for. Employees from countries like Australia, the Netherlands and the United States reveal more about their sexuality to clients, ranging from 65% to 75%, while the global average stands at 45%.

For the survey, 8,800 people from 19 countries were consulted between June and December 2020. 61% of respondents identify themselves as LGBTQIA+; 36% as women; 8% as transsexual or non-binary. According to BCG, “the sample was not intended to represent the general population of countries or sectors of companies, but rather people who are in a corporate context and with relatively high levels of education. Respondents tended to work in companies with more advanced diversity and inclusion practices” .

Challenges faced

The survey also highlights the challenges faced by professionals from other minority groups: 74% of trans and nonbinary people reported cases of discrimination in the workplace. This number stands at 57% when it comes to LGBTQIA+ women; they still report a 13% higher incidence of sexual harassment compared to peers who identify as men.

According to BCG, a LGBTQIA+ employee’s first year in a company is critical for him to reveal his sexuality – or not – and feel more comfortable at work. About 70% of respondents claim to have revealed their sexuality already in the selection process or in the first 12 months of work – only 10% revealed it after the first year. The remaining 20% still did not talk about their sexuality even after a year with the company.

“All phases of the employee’s journey must be thought through and rethought to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. LGBTQIA+ people who feel free to be themselves have more autonomy at work, feel more comfortable talking openly, and build stronger and longer-lasting friendships within the company. This, in turn, makes the teams much more productive and also reduces employee turnover”, comments Juliana Abreu, executive director and partner at BCG in Brazil.

According to BCG, ensuring a comfortable corporate environment for LGBTQIA+ employees to be who they really are is no simple task. Diversity and inclusion initiatives would not be enough to end prejudice in the workplace. Thus, “the study indicates that companies must develop a holistic plan to ensure that all phases of the employee journey, especially during the first year, reflect and are shaped by a diverse, fair and inclusive culture.”




This article is also available in: Português

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Jornalista gaúcho formado na Universidade Franciscana (UFN) e Especialista em Estudos de Gênero pela Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (UFSM)