New Human Rights Campaign Foundation Report: Business Success Depends on Playing an Active Role in Accelerating LGBTQ+ Equality

by HRC Staff

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.

“This report underscores the value of companies playing active roles in accelerating equality for LGBTQ+ people. In a highly competitive market for talent and customers, it’s not just the right thing to do, it’ll future-proof a business’s success. For more than 20 years we’ve been proud to work alongside major companies to advance LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace -- and the next decade will require continued advancements for and commitments to LGBTQ+ workers and customers.”

Jay Brown, Senior Vice President for Programs, Research & Training at the Human Rights Campaign

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.”

“Our findings display loud and clear why businesses should implement LGBTQ+ inclusive workplace policies and be active in the fight for equality. When they take meaningful steps to promote equality, businesses can ensure that they are growing with — not against — the workforce and consumer base of tomorrow.”

Shoshana Goldberg, Director of Public Education & Research at the Human Rights Campaign

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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