A survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics which was released in January 2019 found that around 1.1 million people in the UK now identify as part of the LGBT community. As members of this community increase, it has expanded to include most aspects of sexual identity, resulting in the all-encompassing acronym LGBTQ+.
In recent times, society, as a whole, has been supportive of the integration of the community, however, many workplaces are still failing to recognise those who identify as LGBT. As a result, this has meant the employer possibly missing out on their skills and potential. This is an issue that should certainly be of concern to managers seeking to get the most out of their employees.
It certainly seems as if workplaces are not fully on top of providing the support and a culture in which LGBT employees can thrive.
Figures published by the Chartered Management Institute in August 2018 showed that more than a third (35%) of LGBT employees felt unable to reveal their sexuality to colleagues due to the fear of a backlash. This surged to 51% for transgender staff and 42% for black and ethnic minority LGBT people. Up to 18% of respondents said they have received a negative reaction at work because of their sexual orientation.
People who feel unable to be their true selves at work commonly experience a decline in their job satisfaction, commitment and health.
Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, Chief Executive for WorldSkills UK
"The National Society of Apprentices (NSOA) has estimated that many young people who identify as LGBT+ are not considering apprenticeships because they are worried about how their employers will react to them coming out. The ability to celebrate who you are in the workplace is something that young people today expect, and it is something that we should all be working hard to achieve."
Andy Street CBE, Mayor of the West Midlands
"I am pleased to welcome the first ever qualification in LGBTQ awareness in the workplace. It is important that a West Midlands company has developed this qualification, in response to important, historic moments in the LGBTQ narrative in 2019. With a greater understanding of LGBTQ history, rights and barriers LGBTQ people might face in the workplace, we can start to increase awareness and change outcomes."
Lawrence Barton, Lead Commissioner for LGBT with the West Midlands Combined Authority
"As Festival Director of Birmingham Pride and Lead Commissioner for LGBT with the West Midlands Combined Authority, I welcome the ‘Just Being Me’ national strategy and the Skillsfirst Level 2 Certificate in LGBT Inclusion in the Workplace (RQF) qualification.
LGBT education is key to changing attitudes, welcoming acceptance and ensuring everyone feels valued in living without fear of ridicule, rejection and discrimination. Having a qualification dedicated to raising awareness including LGBT history and culture is pioneering for all workplace learners. It can only have a positive impact on people’s lives and reduce the risk of discrimination in society whilst maintaining supportive workplace environments for LGBT people.
I envisage LGBT learning becoming a norm in all learning programmes, with committed staff to champion awareness and diversity for all. I applaud Mark Child and Skillsfirst for their commitment in developing LGBT qualifications that will have a major impact on both current and future generations."