LGBT+ employees are being prevented from reaching senior management

Sunday, November 13, 2022

A staggering 92 percent of LGBT+ employees think there are barriers preventing those from the LGBT+ community from reaching senior roles, according to new data released by;INvolve.

Almost two in three think they will have to tone down their LGBT+ identity to progress to senior positions.

Also, half of LGBT+ employees think there is an LGBT+ pay gap in their organisation – this is even higher in the construction, finance and IT industries.


On some of the obstacles to blame, 42 percent say a lack of senior LGBT+ role models in their industry is hindering LGBT+ progression to management positions.

A third (30%) say senior management are more likely to promote non-LGBT+ employees who have more in common with them, and over a quarter (28%) say they have been actively discriminated against by senior leaders when deciding promotions.

Also, one in five (19%) have been prevented from interacting with clients due to company concerns about reactions to their LGBT+ identity.

Indeed, almost two-thirds (62%) of LGBT+ employees believe they will have to ‘code-switch’ – tone down their LGBT+ identity and act ‘straight’ – to progress in their career. This figure increases significantly for trans individuals (85%) and lesbian women (68%). Also, those working in the construction (92%) and finance (70%) industries are far more likely to think they will have to code-switch to get ahead.

Just 40 percent of all LGBT+ employees polled are open about their identity with everybody at work.


The research found that half of all employees surveyed (49%) believe their company has an LGBT+ pay gap.

This is significantly higher among those working in construction (62%), finance (59%) and IT (67%), demonstrating that certain industries still have a long way to go in becoming more inclusive.

This research comes as INvolve releases its annual Outstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists, that celebrate and showcase LGBT+ business leaders and allies who are breaking down barriers and creating more inclusive workplaces across the world.

With an incredible 23 countries represented this year, the global nature of the Outstanding lists reflects the myriad of lived-experiences, unique stories and provides a compelling intersectional insight into global LGBT+ communities.

Overall, 18 percent of the Role Models on this year’s lists are from countries outside of Europe and North America.


“Our Outstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists celebrate role models in business who are smashing barriers to progress that can prevent global LGBT+ communities from succeeding and are creating businesses where everyone can thrive as their authentic selves. With the recent rise in hostility towards the LGBT+ community across the world, it’s never been more important to celebrate and learn from those who are driving real change.

“It’s disappointing, to say the least, to see that LGBT+ people are still being held back from reaching their potential and progressing to the most senior levels in business. Ultimately, we all want, and deserve, to see ourselves meaningfully represented in aspirational career positions.”