by Kathryn Smith •
Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation – the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization – released Future-Proofing Business: Embracing Today and Tomorrow’s LGBTQ+ Workers and Customers, a report underscoring that as more consumers and workers identify as LGBTQ+ and allied, expectations for businesses to support the community beyond Pride Month are rising. The report notes how global businesses must embrace pro-equality actions and LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion in order to meet the needs of the growing number of out LGBTQ+ people and people who hold pro-equality beliefs in the global workforce.
Presenting recent research from the HRC Foundation and several other major polling firms and partners, the report notes that more people than ever before are identifying as LGBTQ+ or supporting the LGBTQ+ community — particularly younger generations who are rapidly making up a large share of the global workforce. In fact, one in ten (10.5%) Millennials and one in five (20.8%) Gen Z individuals in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ+, and those numbers are growing every year. Globally, almost one in ten adults worldwide (9%) identify their sexual orientation as something other than heterosexual, and 2% identify their gender identity as transgender, non-binary, or something other than cisgender male or female. By 2030, Gen Z is expected to represent over a third (34%) of the global workforce, surpassing all other generations, and they overwhelmingly are looking for workplaces that will affirm their identities and beliefs. According to the report, “U.S. employees are 4.5 times more likely to want to work at a company if it publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights–with Gen Z and Millennials 5.5 times more likely to want to work at a company that does so.” Consumers are also looking to shop at companies that support them and their loved ones: three quarters (75%) of LGBTQ+ adults, and more than half (51%) of non-LGBTQ+ adults report feeling more positively about brands that support LGBTQ+ equality year-round.
The report is released in conjunction with the 23rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which “will convene leaders from government, business, and civil society to address the state of the world and discuss priorities for the year ahead,” including discussions about the importance of LGBTQ+ equity in the workplace. HRC staff will be on the ground participating in events focused on corporate allyship with the community, issues facing the LGBTQ+ community globally and understanding how businesses can bolster support for their workers inside their companies and in the communities in which they operate.
Advancing LGBTQ+ inclusive practices cultivates success for companies by lowering job turnover rates among LGBTQ+ employees, increasing productivity and solidifying a loyal customer base. As the report notes, “businesses strongly embrace diversity and inclusion because employees who feel a sense of belonging and fairness are more engaged and more productive, and customers who feel companies' values match their own are more connected to their brands.”
The report outlines numerous ways HRC works with companies, starting with participation in the Corporate Equality Index — a national benchmarking tool on corporate policies, practices and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees. It also highlights six core areas of focus for increased attention: advocacy, supply chain, talent pipeline, product impacts, marketing and philanthropy.
Through its Workplace Equality Program, the HRC Foundation offers resources, training, and direct consultation to help make workplaces more LGBTQ+ welcoming and affirming.
To read the full report, please visit hrc.im/FutureProofing. To learn more about The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program, please visit thehrcfoundation.org/about/workplace-equality-program.
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