A quarter of LGBTQ+ people have experienced bullying in the workplace, according to a new study.
The Kantar Inclusion Index is a new initiative from a consulting company of the same name, designed to identify global employment trends and trouble areas. About 18,000 people were surveyed across 10 different industries, and results indicate that queer people experience unique challenges in the workplace. More than half of LGBTQ+ respondents reported “consistent high stress, anxiety, and mental health problems” at work.
Health and pharmaceutical companies ranked highest in LGBTQ+ inclusion, along with education-related fields. Legal, accounting, retail, and financial services also performed well. The worst-ranking industries included construction, manufacturing, and at the lowest end of the scale, the tech industry.
The company found that Canada was one of the best countries for diversity. That country experiences good — not but great — gender inclusion at senior levels, where 40 percent of managers are female. The United States trails Canada, with women making up just 30 percent of senior roles.
But worldwide, only two percent of board director roles are occupied by openly LGBTQ+ individuals. LGBTQ+ people, meanwhile, are thought to comprise about nine percent of the global workforce.
One of the most worrisome findings is that 19 percent of LGBTQ+ employees report being harassed, bullied or undermined in the last year. That figure increases to 23 percent for people with ethnic minority backgrounds, and 24 percent for nonbinary individuals.
What’s more, 26 percent say their sexual orientation has been used to hold them back from career advancement.
Around 40 percent of LGBTQ+ workers say they’ve been left out at work or work-related social activities, which the study’s authors speculate could contribute to feelings of stress and alienation. About a third say they’ve been made to feel uncomfortable at work in the last year.
The report shows that 80 percent of employees have observed or experienced discrimination, but only about a third feel empowered to bring the issue to their HR department.
The worst levels of workplace bullying are reported in Brazil, Mexico, and Singapore. Italy, Netherlands, and Spain have the lowest levels of harassment.
Mandy Rico, global director of Kantar’s Inclusion Index, wrote in a statement that these findings should be a call to action for companies across the world. “Our findings illustrate that a significant amount of work remains to be done to make workplaces more inclusive, diverse, and equal,” Rico said, “especially around the subject of bullying which persists at high levels around the world.”