June 2024 marks 55 years since the Stonewall uprising in the US, which ignited the celebration of LGBTQI+ Pride around the world as we know it today. 

In the world of work, organizations have taken significant strides toward creating more inclusive workplaces in those five decades. But we’re only halfway there.


New data from Randstad’s Workmonitor Pulse Survey shows equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDI&B) initiatives and policies have gone some way to enabling LGBTQI+ workers to be themselves at work. 

Just under half (49%) of LGBTQI+ workers feel comfortable discussing their sexuality or gender identity at work, while more than a quarter (28%) avoid it altogether. 

At the same time, we should note that just over half (51%) feel their employers have taken meaningful action to create an equitable workplace for LGBTQI+ employees. But there is a lot more to be done.

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“Understanding workers’ needs and taking authentic steps to create inclusive workplaces is not just the right thing to do. It’s also a fundamental business imperative for retaining top talent, in the face of growing complexity from a world in constant flux. Companies must build equitable workplaces where all workers can feel they belong.”

Sander van 't Noordende
CEO, Randstad

pockets of progress

The global survey asked more than 2,000 members of the LGBTQI+ community in seven countries to consider how much has changed at work in the past five years — both positive and negative. It shows a mixed picture, with pockets of progress.

Two-fifths have faced discrimination or prejudice at work (41%) throughout their career.

Only two in five (41%) said they face less discrimination than they did five years ago, while more than a quarter (28%) said discrimination had worsened over the past five years.

One in three people (32%) felt more isolated in the workplace than they did five years ago.

This sense of isolation is particularly felt among younger generations, with more than a third of both Gen Z (34%) and Millennials (35%) saying they feel more isolated at work than five years ago, compared to 29% of Gen X and 27% of Baby Boomers. 

Almost half of respondents (48%) said they value allyship at work more than they did a few years ago, which rose to 50% for both Gen Z and Millennials.


the lgbtqi+ experience at work

The Workmonitor Pulse survey findings reveal that workplace culture is having a significant impact on LGBTQI+ workers' employment decisions and career trajectories. The data shows that non-inclusive organizations are actually driving talent away. 


Feeling uncomfortable at work has caused around one in three to quit their job, while more than a third of respondents (36%), think not being themselves at work impacts their motivation and productivity, which should raise a red flag for employers.

Worries about discrimination affecting career progression impacted 40% of LGBTQI+ workers, while a third believe their sexuality or gender identity has negatively impacted their career.

The data highlights a clear need for greater support and inclusivity in workplaces —to benefit not only LGBTQI+ individuals but also the organizations themselves, especially when labor markets are experiencing talent scarcity.

gen z and younger workers driving the change

While there has been progress on inclusion, the expectations of younger LGBTQI+ workers have grown over time — and today’s young leaders-in-waiting are pushing the boundaries of what progress should look like. 


More than a third of Millennials (38%) feel their sexuality or gender identity has impacted their pay or career progression — 16 percentage points higher than for Baby Boomers.

Gen Z is the most worried about career progression being affected by discrimination, with almost half expressing concerns (45%), compared to just 29% of Baby Boomers.

Gen Zers are also voting with their feet: they are almost twice as likely to work remotely if they find their workplace environment non-inclusive, with 40% saying they prefer to work from home, compared to 24% of Baby Boomers.

When it comes to inauthenticity, Millennial workers in particular are more sensitive, and they’re driving the call for businesses to do more and make meaningful changes. Almost half (44%) said their employer’s contribution to Pride and LGBTQI+ initiatives felt tokenistic, compared to 28% of Baby Boomers.

lgbtqi+ communities around the world

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating equitable working environments. As the survey shows variations in terms of the LGBTQI+ experience around the globe, nuanced approaches appropriate to the country’s culture are important.

Workers in Japan are the least comfortable talking about their sexuality and gender identity at work, with only a third (34%) feeling comfortable, compared to more than half of those in the UK and Australia (58% and 57%).

However, Japan has the lowest level of fear regarding job applications due to potential discrimination (17%) compared to all other countries.

More than double the percentage of LGBTQI+ workers in the US have quit their jobs due to feeling uncomfortable, compared to those in the Netherlands (41% v 16%).


The US has the highest recognition of discrimination at 51% of respondents, who said their sexuality or gender identity had exposed them to discrimination or prejudice throughout their career.

Allyship appears to be strong in the Netherlands, with more than half (55%) of respondents saying there are role models and allies in the workplace and colleagues are active allies (60%). 

In both cases, these were 30 percentage points higher than Japan, which also came lowest when it comes to the perception of employers taking meaningful action, at just 35%.

toward more inclusive workplaces

From the Workmonitor 2024 research, we know that workers favor employers whose opinions, values and worldviews reflect their own, and who actively improve equity in the workplace.

And this theme plays out in the Workmonitor Pulse survey results.


More than half think their employer is responsible for creating an inclusive workplace (58%) and should take a stance on LGBTQI+ issues (57%).

A third say their employer does not engage with Pride Month initiatives, while more than a third of those with employers that do engage describe these efforts as tokenistic. 

Such tokenism can manifest as surface-level support for LGBTQI+ employees without substantive change to company culture or policies.

Indeed, more than half of respondents (57%) said their company needs to introduce inclusive policies within the organization and take a stance on LGBTQI+ issues publicly.

Businesses have a clear role to play in driving positive change, speaking up in public debates and not faltering on previous progress.


Here are three tangible ways employers can foster an environment of inclusivity:

    1. empower employee-driven groups and provide visible support: 

  • ensure all initiatives are grounded in the real experience of employees. This leads to informed, targeted business actions that support and enhance workplace inclusivity. 
  • publicly demonstrate commitment to LGBTQI+ inclusion. This could involve participating in Pride events, sponsoring LGBTQI+ charities, or flying the Pride flag at the workplace. Include LGBTQI+ representation in company materials, advertisements and leadership positions to foster a sense of belonging and visibility.

    2. instill a culture of respect and empathy, through education and inclusive language and policies: 

  • recognize and respect the diverse range of experiences LGBTQI+ workers, rather than perceiving them as "other” or defining them solely by their gender or sexual orientation.
  • leaders can educate themselves and employees on LGBTQI+ identities, terminology and issues. This can help reduce bias and create a more understanding environment. Building a “culture of respect and authenticity” goes a long way in instilling openness, transparency and trust in the workplace.
  • promote the use of inclusive language that respects gender identity and expression. Update anti-discrimination policies to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity. Develop protocols for addressing instances of harassment, discrimination, or microaggressions against LGBTQI+ employees, and ensure that they feel safe reporting such incidents.

    3. work on authentic allyship, throughout the year, such as employee benefits:

  • while Pride Month offers an important opportunity for businesses to reflect on their LGBTQI+ inclusivity efforts, year-round awareness is essential.
  • ensure that health insurance plans offer coverage for LGBTQI+ needs, including domestic partner benefits and transgender healthcare. Provide gender-neutral bathrooms and locker rooms to accommodate all employees comfortably.

Join Randstad CEO on: 2 in 5 LGBTQI+ talent face discrimination: how do we turn the tide?

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