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CMI research shows worrying lack of support for LGBTQ+ employees

Ann Francke, Chief Executive, Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) – the UK’s chartered professional body for management and leadership – is warning of ‘worrying complacency’ on ensuring UK workplaces are inclusive for all LGBTQ+ workers.   

On the issue of sexual orientation and identity, the CMI poll revealed major gaps in many organisations’ approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).  Of those polled: 

  • Fewer than half (49%) reported senior leaders championing LGBTQ+ inclusivity in their organisation
  • Similarly, only 49% reported the existence of a LGBTQ+ staff network
  • And over a third (38%) of managers reported that their organisation either does not collect LGBT+ data or if they did, they were unaware

Despite most respondents considering their organisation or business to be ‘inclusive’, there remains generally low awareness and take-up of basic training, monitoring and support schemes that should now be common among UK employers.

Today, the head of the CMI, Ann Francke, reacted to the poll findings, warning of ‘complacency’ around how much progress has been made on DE&I in UK businesses. 

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the CMI, said,

“Pride month is a good time to reflect on progress for inclusion of LGBTQ+ employees. Despite progress, these poll findings show how far there still is to go and there are worrying levels of complacency about the change in culture still required in many organisations. 

“The fact that so many businesses still don’t have basic DE&I schemes in place should be a wake-up call. Ultimately, if employers remain stuck in the past they will suffer when they can’t recruit and retain the diverse talent that every business needs to grow and succeed.  

“Action in this area is now more crucial than ever. With the move to widespread hybrid working, much of the face-to-face training, mentoring and support networks central to fostering inclusive workplaces risk falling by the wayside unless many employers up their game.” 

Further key findings in the report 

  • Management training specifically on LGBTQ+ inclusion is rare, with only 26% of respondents reporting this happened in their organisations. Only 39%said they had visible LGBTQ+ role models in their organisation.
  • Despite 89% of respondents agreeing that their organisation’s culture was inclusive enough for staff to report inappropriate behaviour, such as bullying on the grounds of sexual orientation, only 56% reported that they had a workplace policy or guide specifically relating to sexual orientation equality and/or inclusion, suggesting more could be done to support an inclusive culture. 
  • 70% of non-heterosexual respondents to the poll felt comfortable being open about their sexual orientation with their colleagues and 63% felt comfortable being open with their manager (63%). 
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