While the LGBTQ+ community in India continues its ongoing struggle for the right to marry, the presence of supportive and inclusive workplaces offers a much-needed sigh of relief. According to a work culture study on the ‘state of LGBTQ+ hiring in India’ under Careernet Prism, out of the 60% of LGBTQ+ employees, 73% did not report the harassment incidents citing that the issues were rather minor and not severe enough.
Careernet Prism is an initiative of Careernet, a leading talent solutions provider. It recently conducted a comprehensive analysis of LGBTQ+ candidates and Diversity & Inclusion leaders. The analysis shared insights on the prevailing trends, challenges, and work conditions of the Indian LGBTQ+ employees as well as, inclusion policies at various workplaces.
Of the total participants representing the LGBTQ+ community, nearly 50% confirmed getting support from their organisation with inclusive policies. Moreover, 69% of queer employees said that their work profile aligns with their skills and qualification but 25% disclosed working in a different profile than their skills and receiving a lower salary package.
Workplace reactions on the LGBTQ+ community:
On a brighter side, overall candidates shared that ever since they have come out at their workplace:
- They get support from their employer and colleagues
- They are satisfied with promotions and opportunities, and fairness in performance appraisals
- They are comfortable interacting with managers and teammates
- They have reduced stress levels,
- They feel a sense of belongingness to remain and plan to stay with their current employer for long-term
Notably, the respondents shared that irrespective of their disclosure status, they perceive their current workplace accommodates LGBTQ+ and they prefer working in organisations that actively promote inclusivity.
Careernet Prism study on LGBTQ+ hiring in India: Key findings
As the workplace actively strives to be inclusive of the queer community, the following insights from the survey report reveal some truths on the same:
- 58% report positive change in their organisations for their safety and support
- 60% report harassment at the workplace but 73% of them do not address minor incidents
The reason is that they feel the workplace is transforming into an LGBTQ+ friendly environment to provide them with a sense of security. As a result, such minor negative incidents can be overlooked.
S Pasupathi, Chief Operating Officer of Careernet, commented on the study results, “Diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies are instrumental in facilitating a harmonious environment for any organisation. Celebrating differences is a stepping stone to embracing diversity. 46% of the participants consider HR and diversity policies decisive factors for joining an organisation. We believe that HR practices incorporating D&I policies are crucial in fostering a culture that encourages LGBTQ+ employees to unleash their growth potential by being their authentic selves. Workplaces should cultivate a secure environment and create a sense of belonging among every member of the organisation to reach greater heights of innovation and prosperity.”
Furthermore, as LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces are visible across the country, it calls for implementing more D&I policies for an effective impact.
Currently, only 20% of LGBTQ+ employees are registered members of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Whereas, 18% disclosed that ERG for their community is available globally but not in India.
In addition, 62% expressed their employer’s ERG policy does not exist. However, D&I leaders indicate 43% of employers have ERGs supporting queer employees, of which 67% are dedicated to women employees including LGBTQ+ members identifying themselves as she/her, and the remaining 33% for others.
Relationship between LGBTQ+ and their coworkers
Almost 50% of LGBTQ+ employees feel valued at their workplace, but they also perceive a lack of awareness about queer community among their coworkers. Currently, only 15-20% of employees (other than LGBTQ+) are sensitised on issues concerning the queer community.
LGBTQ+ hiring in India
There is an increase in LGBTQ+ hiring efforts across various sectors in India, of which Banking Finance Services and Insurance (BFSI) has been the most welcoming with 34%, then the IT sector with 22%, and lastly, consulting sector with 19% of LGBTQ+ employees.
According to the report, the key factors contributing to the lack of LGBTQ+ hiring in India are:
- Lack of tangible and authentic sources
- A mismatch between the candidate’s qualifications and job descriptions
- The extra convincing required for top management to hire and retain queer candidates
The report also shows that 43% of leaders agree that the retention rate of LGBTQ+ employees is more than 70% in their respective organisations. Additionally, another 43% agree with being able to retain nearly 50% of queer employees.
Last year, 70% of employers were able to recruit 1.5 - 2 % of queer candidates against their targeted 3-5% of their total employees. This represents a lack of hiring initiatives for LGBTQ+ for open positions as only 50% of talent was recruited from the community. To this, D&I leaders explained that the biggest challenge in hirings from the LGBTQ+ community is a mismatch between candidates’ profiles and the minimum criteria for the roles. They often seek a candidate who can match only 60% of job descriptions.