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GAY PAY GAP: The impact of orientation on salary & earnings growth

Dawn Hough, Pride in Diversity, Australia

There have been several reports and research studies over the last couple of years reporting on the pay gap between gay men, gay women and their heterosexual counterparts.

In 2014, a study commissioned by World Bank and IZA World of Labor looking into Sexual orientation and labor market outcomes concluded that gay men and lesbians report greater levels of harassment and unfair treatment, as well as the more positive impacts of being out at work in terms of higher job satisfaction and engagement. This is not new to many in the Diversity & Inclusion profession. What was particularly interesting about this report though was the global pay disparity between gay men, lesbian women and their heterosexual colleagues.

The report claimed that average earning differentials disfavoured gay men by up to 9% compared to their heterosexual colleagues; while gay women earned up to a 12% premium in wages compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Studies were undertaken between 1989-2014 comparing individuals of comparable education, experience and skills across several countries. Disparities across countries varied greatly and researchers were quick to point out a substantial variance around estimates.

Differentials quoted included:

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The latest study on pay disparity between gay men, lesbian women and their heterosexual counterparts comes out of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne. The very recent study, published March 2015, was conducted by Professor Mark Wooden (University of Melbourne) and Professor Joseph Sabia (San Diego State University). This study focused on sexual identity, earnings and labour market dynamics with new evidence from longitudinal data in Australia. The data was collected from the 2012 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Survey (HILDA) and comprised responses from more than 10,000 people.

This study contradicts the findings quoted in the 2 014 IZA study with Australian gay pay disparity being quote as below:

Gay Males in Australia (in comparison to heterosexual counterparts)

  • Gay men face up to a 20% earning penalty, partially attributable to earning growth penalties over time
  • Gay men experience more frequent gaps in continuous employment
  • Earnings decline for gay males open about sexuality at work and in a relationship in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts.

Lesbian Women in Australia (in comparison to heterosexual counterparts)

  • Earnings premium of at least 33 per cent
  • Attributed to increased labour supply and to a lesser extent, greater earnings over time
  • Earnings for those with a partner were found to be higher than those without

Across the two reports, observations and suggestions for the pay disparity include:

Lesbian women

  • Many lesbian women not conforming to traditional family roles decide to invest more heavily in education, staying at school longer, undertaking higher degrees
  • Lesbian women reported to work longer hours (up to 20%)
  • Earnings premium more to do with increased labour supply and to a lesser extent, greater earnings growth over time
  • Less lesbian women have family commitments with only 22% of lesbian women having children in comparison to 59% of heterosexual women

Gay men

  • Gay male characteristics may be valued less than those of heterosexual men
  • Non-conformity to traditional gender roles
  • Wages of gay men growing at a much slower rate than those of heterosexual men
  • Those who live openly with a partner face larger earning penalties.

In addition to the above explanations, both reports make mention of the role that labour market discrimination plays, particularly in relation to gay men who are “out” at work alongside the diminished chances of job interview selection if resumes reflect one’s orientation. On this, the Melbourne study notes that changing attitudes in Australia between 2000 and 2010 have been quite dramatic with “a 2013 Pew Research Centre poll finding that 80 percent of Australians believed that homosexuality should be accepted by society”.

Over the last five years, Pride in Diversity[1], an Australian not-for-profit member based organisation assisting employers with LGBTI workplace inclusion has witnessed a considerable increase in the number of organisations engaging with Pride in Diversity in order to establish LGBTI inclusion initiatives within their workplaces. Equally, the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI)[2] has since 2010, reported a significant year-on-year change in best practice alignment, bringing Australian organisations at the top of their field to be on par with international best practice.

Given the significant change in attitudes over the last 5-10 years and the explosion of LGBTI inclusion practices onto the Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Agenda, it would be interesting to see the impact of these initiatives on this data over the next five years. With social inclusion, diversity and good corporate citizenship being high on the wish list for incoming graduates and future employees in addition to a more aware and inclusive population, we anticipate that attitudes will continue to change and that stigma and discrimination will play less of a role in pay gap disparity, in particular for gay men.

Just as organisations tracks pay equity for their female population, those active in the work of LGBTI workplace inclusion would gain a great deal by tracking pay equity for their LGBTI populations. Given the difficulty for many LGBTI people to be open about their orientation, gender identity and/or intersex status, the work of breaking down barriers, tackling discriminatory practices and calling non-acceptable behaviour needs to remain high on the agenda. While these figures, particularly for gay men may seem alarming in themselves, we would suggest that those for transgender and openly intersex employees would be significantly higher.

As more and more evidence comes to light in terms of workplace inequity, our younger generations and inclusive employers will become less tolerant of any form of workplace discrimination, bullying and/or harassment. LGBTI workplace inclusion is no longer a nice to have but an imperative for the employer of choice and best practice organisations. This research once again highlights the importance of inclusion initiatives and the ongoing prejudice and discrimination that some LGBTI employees face.

For more information about Pride in Diversity and how the program can benefit your organisation, please contact Stephanie Mellor on (02) 9206.2139 or email Dawn Hough at dawn.hough@prideindiversity.com.au

REFERENCES

Mathew, J (2014), Lesbian employees earn 8% more than straights in the UK, while gay men get 5% less, IB Times referenced at www.ibtimes.co.uk/lesbian-employees-earn-8-more-straights-uk-while-gay-men-get-5-less-1480266

Drydakis, N. (2014), Sexual orientation and labour market outcomes, IZA World of Labor 2014: 111 do: 10.15.185/izawol.111. wol.iza.org

Soderlind, L (20150, Lesbians earn more than heterosexual women while gay men lag in wages, The Melbourne Newsroom, University of Melbourne referenced at: http://newsroom.melbourne.edu.au/news/lesbians-earn-more-heterosexual-women-while-gay-men-lag-wages

Sabia, JJ & Wooden, M (2015), Sexual Identity, Earnings, and Labour Market Dynamics: New Evidence from Longitudinal Data in Australia, Melbourne Institute Working Paper No 8/15, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) http://www.melbourne.institute.com

Dawn Hough is the Director of Pride in Diversity, Australia’s national not-for-profit employer support program specifically designed to assist Australian Employers with all aspects of LGBTI workplace inclusion. Pride in Diversity is also the publisher of the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), Australia’s definitive national benchmark on LGBTI inclusion. The results of the 2015 AWEI will be announced at the AWEI Awards Luncheon on May 15, 2015. For more information on the AWEI or the Awards Luncheon and associated Top Employer Results, please contact Pride in Diversity.

Pride in Diversity is a social inclusion initiative of ACON, established in 2009 to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTI people by reducing exclusion, invisibiity, homophobia and stigma in the workplace.

[1] Pride in Diversity is Australia’s national not-for-profit Employer Support Programs specifically designed to assist Australian Employers with all aspects of LGBTI workplace Inclusion. Pride in Diversity is also the publisher of the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), the national benchmark on LGBTI workplace inclusion and the Top Employer for LGBTI Employees Awards Recognition.

[2] Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) is Australia’s definitive benchmark on LGBTI workplace inclusion providing annual benchmark data across sectors, top employers and in some cases, industry groups. The AWEI comprises an additional employee survey with the 2015 survey canvassing over 9,000 employees working within organisations active in LGBTI workplace inclusion.

Australia and Hong Kong set to announce Top Employers: LGBTI Inclusion

I had the absolute pleasure of spending several days in Hong Kong with Community Business last week, Hong Kong’s leading diversity advisors and advocates for LGBT workplace inclusion.

Community business, with the recent launch of their inaugural LGBT workplace inclusion index have been running a campaign called #time4changeHK . After spending two days looking at the comprehensive work being undertaken by organisations in Hong Kong and the calibre of network groups and leaders, we can only conclude that things are changing at a phenomenal pace. Global organisations are clearly committed to regional initiatives and local organisations are breaking ground in the work that they are currently doing.

Pride in Diversity was delighted to receive an invitation to assist with the judging of Hong Kong’s first award submissions. This trip, made possible through the sponsorship of Goldman Sachs Hong Kong, gave the two organisations time to discuss not only the progress of LGBTI inclusion more fully but next steps, collectively and regionally.

Community Business and Pride in Diversity have long enjoyed a sharing relationship. Community Business spoke at the Pride in Diversity annual conference (Pride in Practice) last December and have provided advice in regard to LGBT workplace inclusion across Asia. Pride in Diversity have provided insight into the workings of the Australian Index and advice on the development of the Hong Kong Index; in addition to sitting on the judging panel for these first awards. The two days in Hong Kong allowed the two organisations to further cement that relationship and discuss the coverage of LGBTI inclusion initiatives across Australia, Hong Kong and Asia more broadly.

Both the Hong Kong LGBT workplace inclusion index and the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) provide a rigorous assessment of an organisation’s initiatives and diversity strategy in addition to setting the foundation for an annual national benchmark. Each instrument sets and drives practice for their respective regions providing not only invaluable feedback to employers (regardless of where they are on the LGBTI inclusion journey) but in some cases sector and industry benchmarks. This external measure of progress and invaluable insight into national initiatives as a result, provides each organisation with the ability to progress LGBTI inclusion initiatives nationally and collectively within the region.

With both indices for 2015 recently closing, the rigorous task of marking and assessment is still underway. Both organisations have planned an Awards Luncheon and announcement of Top Employers for Friday May 15, in recognition of International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17). With the Australian Awards Luncheon kicking off a couple of hours before the Hong Kong Luncheon, participating organisations across the region will be able to hear of their results across both indices on the same day. A joint statement by Pride in Diversity and Community Business will be issued shortly after.

For more information on Pride in Diversity, the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) or the Australian Employer Awards Luncheon, please contact Steph Mellor on (02) 9206.2139 or visit http://www.prideindiversity.com.au

For more information on Community Business, the Hong Kong LGBT Inclusion Index or the Hong Kong Awards Luncheon, please refer to the website www.communitybusiness.org/hklgbtindex/ or contact Ivy Wong (Ph: HK 2152-1889 or email ivy.wong@communitybusiness.org).

Dawn Hough is the Director of Pride in Diversity, Australia’s first and only national not-for-profit employer support program for all aspects of LGBTI Workplace Inclusion. Pride in Diversity are also the developers of the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), Australia’s definitive national benchmarking for LGBTI inclusion initiatives.

SPORTING ORGANISATIONS COMMIT TO AN INDEX TO TACKLE HOMOPHOBIA

Dawn Hough, Director, Pride in Diversity (ACON)

Pride in Diversity has been commissioned by Australian Human Rights Commission and Australian Sports Commission to develop an index to assess, measure and drive inclusive practice in Australian Sports.\

Pride in Diversity is best known for its internationally recognised Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), an annual benchmarking instrument that determines, assesses, drives and acknowledges best practice in LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex) workplace inclusion. This index has been instrumental in taking Australian workplace practice from a lag position behind the UK and the US to international good practice whereby Top Employers are now on par with their overseas counterparts and in many instances setting the pace for best practice globally.

On the back of ‘Out on the Fields’ a world first international study just released on Homophobia in Sport ‘,Pride in Diversity have been engaged by the Human Rights Commission, Australian Sports Commission and instigators, the Bingham Cup, to develop a similar index for Australian Sporting Organisations. The ‘Out on the Fields’ study uncovered widespread homophobic behaviour in sport with an alarming numbers of participants not feeling safe, experiencing homophobic violence, bullying, slurs or choosing to stay in the closet for fear of repercussions. Leaderboard stats for Australia were poor, being listed as the second most likely country in which male athletes were likely to stay in the closet faring only marginally better for lesbian athletes.

While Australians may believe that we have come a long way and that there are gay athletes out there who are openly accepted, evidence for the majority paints a very different picture.   Personal experiences of violent forms of homophobia, threats, bullying and social exclusion saw Australia rank at the high end of the incidents list with particular concerns for youth teams sports and school physical education classes. Impacts were sufficient enough for people to decide against playing team sports.

After listening to much of the commentary on the study over the weekend, the disconnect between perceived inclusion and actual lived experience of our LGBTI athletes is apparent. Naming a few out athletes who are openly accepted as evidence of sports inclusivity is akin to saying we have a few gay mates who have never been bullied and therefore we don’t have a problem with LGBTI inclusion in Australia. Yet, suicide and depression is still greater for LGBTI people with a significant contributor being social exclusion and lack of acceptance. The argument only highlights the general lack of awareness in terms of what LGBTI athletes actually experience on the fields and within other sporting domains.

We need to be mindful of the lens that we look through. As a heterosexual sportsperson or commentator, we may not necessarily be privy to the lived experience of our LGBTI counterparts. Assuming that what we see is the lived experience of the majority of LGBTI athletes out is akin to sweeoubg the problem under the carpet, when in reality what we need is people to understand what the real experiences are and become part of the solution.

Thankfully, sporting organisations across the country were quick to acknowledge that damaging homophobic behaviour exists and were keen to support the development of the index. This weekend the ARU, AFL, NRL, FFA and CA expressed their support for the benchmarking instrument with many agreeing to participate in an advisory panel led by Pride in Diversity to assist with its development.

The index will determine the current state of play, determine the areas that need addressing and set a national sporting benchmark by which sporting organisations will be able to assess the impact of their work on player experience and perception. The index will be administered annually by Pride in Diversity allowing sports to measure progress as well as benchmark themselves either anonymously or publicly against other sports or clubs.   It is also expected that as with the AWEI, the Index will acknowledge top performers with awards and recognition, whether that be in the first year or two is yet to be determined.

Pride in Diversity is a proud to have been commissioned to develop what we believe to be a world-first sporting inclusivity index in conjunction with the Human Rights Commission, Australian Sport Commission and representatives of Australian Sport.

For more information contact Dawn Hough, Director, Pride in Diversity on (02) 9206.2139 or dawn.hough@prideindiversity.com.au

Impossible to Measure LGBTI Workplace Inclusion? No!

2015 marks the 5th year of the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), Australia’s definitive national benchmark on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex (LGBTI) workplace inclusion. The AWEI also comprises the largest and only national employee survey of its kind designed to gauge the overall impact of inclusion initiatives on organisational culture as well as LGBTI identifying and non-identifying employees. The AWEI drives best practice in Australia and participation has gown annually from its introduction. Pride in Diversity, Australia’s first and only national body supporting Australian workplaces (and their Asia Pacific offices) with LGBTI inclusion work, is the publisher of the AWEI. Clients of Pride in Diversity include those across many sectors and industries such as banking & finance, professional services, oil, gas, & mining, not-for-profit, tertiary institutions and federal, state & local government. For a full list of Pride in Diversity members, click here.

The AWEI measures LGBTI inclusion activities across a number of diversity practice areas such as policy, awareness & visibility, training, and supplier diversity. It allows an organisation to benchmark themselves against other similar employers, and gain valuable internal data on their inclusion work. Year-on-year participation in the AWEI gives employers great insight into their ongoing performance in this space, creating a culture of continuous improvement and providing them with up to date data each year for inclusion in organisational reporting, strategy and many programs.

“This is the third year the Westpac Group has participated in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI). We find it is a great tool to use to not only benchmark us against our peers, but also assist us in driving our LGBTI initiatives internally. We have made great progress over the past two years which we are very proud of, and the Index helps us push forward as there is still much more to do. It is benchmarks like the AWEI that keep organisations accountable and ensure that diversity and inclusion continues to progress”Brad Cooper, GLOBAL Executive Sponsor, The Westpac Group.

Participation in the optional AWEI Employee Survey is beneficial to organisations as it provides previously hard-to-obtain, objective data that comments directly on the ‘lived experience’ of LGBTI employees in an organisation. It essentially measures the impact of an organisation’s LGBTI inclusion work. As many HR, OD and Diversity professionals know, measuring the ROI of programs designed to make an impact on the culture of an organisation can be difficult, if not impossible to obtain. The survey is managed externally to all organisations and the data held confidentially by the Pride in Diversity team. No identifying data is collected, and demographic data only reported once combined with at least 10 other responses of demographically identical respondents, ensuring anonymity. Many organisations often utilise the feedback provided from the Employee Survey to inform the next year’s LGBTI Inclusion Strategy, or to address ‘hot spots’. Organisations that participate year-on-year in the AWEI process, and are active in their inclusion work the year following will likely see continued improvement in their AWEI performance. For those organisations who feature in the Top 20 Employers for LGBTI Employees (Gold and Silver Tier) there is a significantly more positive employee experience compared to organisations outside of the Top 20.

“Our aim is to create a workplace where everyone feels welcome and able to bring their whole self to work. Achieving a Top 20 ranking in the Pride in Diversity 2014 AWEI has provided external recognition for the work that we are so passionately committed to, as well as a platform to benchmark our practices against leading organisations. The support and guidance we have received from Pride in Diversity has been crucial to our success. The collaborative nature of our partnership has enabled us to work together to raise awareness of the importance of workplace inclusion and to develop initiatives that further support employees who identify as LGBTI and their allies. Ultimately this has enabled us to create a workplace culture that is inclusive of all employees” – Catherine Owen, OD Consultant – Diversity, Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

Participation in the AWEI is open to all employers in Australia, regardless of membership status with Pride in Diversity. Organisations across all industries and sectors take part and participation is at no cost to the organisation. Organisations at all stages of their LGBTI inclusion journey find it valuable to participate in the AWEI. For those organisations that are just starting to work on this space, it provides valuable knowledge of where your organisation has inclusive practice, and where there is an opportunity to make changes or improvement. Members of Pride in Diversity can request a comprehensive debrief workshop with a PID Relationship Manager, which provides additional guidance and analysis. While the AWEI Employer of the Year and associated awards are publically communicated, participation in the AWEI can be completely confidential. This allows organisations to treat the process as an internal benchmarking process only. Pride in Diversity are available to satisfy any confidentiality agreement in relation to an organisation taking part confidentially.

We are proud to be a PiD foundation member and an AWEI participant since its inauguration. The AWEI inspires us to improve as an organization and is a driver of LGBTI inclusion across Australia. We are also grateful for our PiD network and the sharing of best practices that has helped us to learn and grow. Having our efforts acknowledged with the 2014 AWEI Employer of the Year award was a tribute to the hard work of senior leadership, GLAM (Gays, Lesbians and Mates) Network and Human Capital Management team” – Michelle Nyberg, Executive Director and GLAM Chair, Goldman Sachs.

The LGBTI Employer of the Year, along with Gold, Silver, Bronze and Participating organisations will be honoured at the Annual AWEI Awards Luncheon in Sydney on 15 May, at The Westin. Additional awards include Diversity Champion, CEO of the Year and Regional Award. For more information, and to download the submission document, including a dedicated completion guide, please click here.

If you’d like to talk in more detail, or have any questions about Pride in Diversity, or the Australian Workplace Equality Index, please don’t hesitate to contact me via LinkedIn or on 02 9206 2138 or +61 429 494 547.

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Ross Wetherbee is Workplace Education & Relationship Manager at Pride in Diversity. In his role he oversees his portfolio of member organisations in the public sector and the following industry groups: Local, State and Federal Government departments, Tertiary Education institutions, Healthcare, Mining Resources and Energy, Oil & Gas, FMCG, Sporting Organisations and Not-for-profit & Community Groups. He facilitates member roundtables, training and awareness sessions, and works with member organisations in an ongoing capacity to provide best-practice advice and assist in all aspects of LGBTI workplace inclusion. Prior to joining Pride in Diversity, Ross lead Macquarie Bank’s LGBTI Employee Network in addition to his role as a Global Talent Consultant.

LGBTIQ Inclusion in Australian Universities – Raising the Bar

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the Australian LGBTI University Guide at the Australian Human Rights Commission Headquarters in Sydney.

The guide is a joint effort from the Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, Sydney Star Observer, Out For Australia, Oii, and Transgender Victoria that seeks to rate an Australian University’s inclusivity for LGBTIQ students by examining publicly available information such as policies, support resources, events, groups/societies (such as the presence of an Ally network), membership to Pride in Diversity, and involvement with broader community issues that affect LGBTIQ people.

While Pride in Diversity is not affiliated with the Australian LGBTI Uni Guide, we acknowledge the intent by its publishers – to shine a light on the learning environments are most openly supportive, and therefore potentially more likely to cater for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, intersex or queer.

At the launch of the guide, which was officiated by Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, a question was posed by an attendee…

“what’s next – how can the universities featured in the guide progress from here, how can they measure how inclusive they are and instigate change from within?”

To me, the answer is to benchmark your institution fully, by participating in the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI).

The Australian Workplace Equality Index, published by Pride in Diversity now stands as the definitive national benchmark on LGBTI workplace inclusion and comprises the largest national employee survey designed to gauge the overall impact of inclusion initiatives on organisational culture as well as identifying and non-identifying employees. The Index drives best practice in Australia and sets a comparative benchmark for Australian employers across all sectors. For this reason alone, the Index has to be comprehensive and rigorous. The work compiled annually by employers submitting for the Index is a testament to the importance of LGBTI inclusion with their current D&I initiatives.

Employer participation in the Index and the optional employee survey has grown annually since its launch in 2010 and in 2014 moved from celebrating Top 10 Employers to Australia’s Top 20 Employers alongside small employers and individuals who are acknowledged for their contribution to LGBTI Workplace Inclusion.

Participation as a member of Pride in Diversity will also entitle your institution to a full and comprehensive debrief, complete with comparisons to the tertiary sector and key recommendations for progression. Membership with Pride in Diversity also entitles you to ongoing support, training and consultancy on all aspects of LGBTIQ inclusion. 

Two Australian Universities have featured consistently in the Top 10 over the lifespan of the AWEI – University of Western Australia, and Curtin University, sending a strong message that you do not need to be a large corporate organisation to stand up and be counted in this space.

Pride in Diversity now work with over 10 Universities in the LGBTIQ space, with five of these being Group of Eight (Go8) universities – I can clearly see the momentum building in this area of inclusion – and a major focus on aligning with, and ensuring that the student community is on the journey. Pride in Diversity are here to support Australian Universities, along with all other industries and sectors in business to create safe, welcoming and inclusive cultures where all employees can bring their whole self to work and contribute to their fullest extent possible.

For more information about Pride in Diversity or to discuss membership options, please contact me direct on (02) 9206 2138 or +61429494547 or via email:ross.wetherbee@prideindiversity.com.au


Ross Wetherbee is Relationship Manager at Pride in Diversity.

Ross Wetherbee has over 10 years’ experience in HR, Talent, Organisational Development and Learning facilitation.

Ross’ role as Workplace Education & Relationship Manager at Pride In Diversity oversees a portfolio of member organisations including the following sectors: Property & Construction, Local, State and Federal Government, Tertiary Education, Healthcare, Energy, Oil & Gas, Elite Sporting Codes and Not-for-profit & Community.

 

LGBTI Inclusion: Are Your Leaders Really Engaged?

A panel I spoke on recently, sparked some interesting debate, which raised the question:

“When it comes to inclusion and progressing the diversity agenda – are your leaders really engaged, or are they just paying lip service?”

I know what I believe to be true. LGBTI Inclusion is unique, with more and more leaders becoming powerful role models and allies across their organisations in this space, and yes, their support is authentic.

LGBTI inclusion has arguably made substantial progress over recent years, of course we know that there is still plenty of work to do, but with this groundswell of momentum and practice shifting (AWEI) [1], an increasing numbers of organisations across Australia are realising that to be truly inclusive: LGBTI inclusion initiatives count.

So, in what is now being called “the fastest moving area of diversity and inclusion” in some circles; What are the key drivers in effecting change and cultivating genuine support from leaders?

Here are a few:

1. Practice Sharing – the amount of sharing that goes on between and across organisations active in LGBTI workplace inclusion, is quite unlike any other. It is both inspirational to watch and exciting to be part of. Come along to any Pride in Diversity Member Round Table, and our Annual Pride in Practice Conference to experience this first hand.

2. Executive Endorsement – known as “Executive Sponsors” these influential individuals are in many cases the epitome of “genuine leadership and engagement” in this space from the top and on the ground. LGBTI networks with active Executive Sponsors have their work supported and endorsed, and their initiatives promoted by these Senior Leaders across SLT teams and throughout their workplaces.

But it’s not just Executive Sponsors who are fast becoming genuinely engaged, CEO’s are also coming out in active support of LGBTI inclusion in some organisations, by speaking out on the importance of corporate citizenship in this space.

Which brings me to another type of “Leader” who is actively engaged, and in many ways demonstrates genuine commitment to LGBTI workplace inclusion today…

3. Effective and Sustainable Employee Networks – all you have to do is take a look at any of the LGBTI network groups that we work with across Australia to find teams of dedicated and driven individuals (many “actively engaged leaders”) some who identify as LGBTI and many who don’t, all working towards best practice and creating cultural change.

4. And finally, the voice of the leaders: The 2014 AWEI Annual Employee Survey [1] show that over 90% of Senior Leaders in Australian Workplaces personally believe in LGBTI workplace inclusion and support LGBTI inclusion initiatives. But don’t just believe the statistics, go out and listen to their stories!

I would argue this is not something to be cynical about, as I hear first hand many multitudes of heartfelt, personal stories, which are also being shared by these engaged leaders with their peers and employees, providing inspiration for many. It is indeed through this story telling, that we are engaging more leaders along the way.

Many of the leaders we work with not only understand the business case, but genuinely support LGBTI inclusion, many for their own personal reasons, and others because through education they have been provided true insight into the lived experience of their LGBTI employees.

But this hasn’t always been the case, and it would be naive to think we don’t still have a long way to go, and of course it is not only about engaging leaders, although this is a very good place to start!

Want to be inspired to make a difference in your workplace? Come along to our Pride in Practice Conference on December 1st & 2nd (almost at capacity!) For more information and tickets click here.


 

Lin Surch is Workplace Education and Relationship Manager of Pride in Diversity, Australia’s not-for-profit employer support program for all aspects of LGBTI workplace inclusion. For more information on Pride in Diversity, call us on +612 9206.2137.

[1] AWEI is published annually by Pride in Diversity, Australia’s national not-for-profit employee support program for all aspects of LGBTI workplace inclusion. The AWEI is the country’s definitive national benchmarking tool that benchmarks LGBTI inclusion in Australian workplaces in addition to providing the country’s largest annual LGBTI inclusion employee study, and acknowledgement of the country’s Top 20 Employers for LGBTI employees. For more information on Pride in Diversity visit www.prideindiversity.com.au. For more information on the AWEI or to download a full copy of the benchmarking or employee study, visit www.prideindiverity.com.au