Spotlight On Corporate LGBTI Inclusion In Australia’s Largest Employee Survey

Spotlight On Corporate LGBTI Inclusion In Australia’s Largest Employee Survey

The findings from the country’s largest survey into lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) inclusion within Australian workplaces have been released, detailing a range of attitudes and responses on how inclusion initiatives within the workplace have impacted LGBTI and non-LGBTI employees.

The 2018 Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Employee Survey canvassed employees from around Australia on their organisation’s LGBTI inclusion efforts, to determine views on current initiatives, the impact within their workplaces and the overall message of diversity and inclusion. The survey has been conducted by Pride in Diversity, ACON’s national not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion.

This year, 23,120 surveys were completed from employees working at 89 different organisations, and of all respondents, 3,709 identified as LGBTI. The survey was open to all employees regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

Heterosexual respondents comprised 76 per cent of the total, with gay and bisexual men comprising 9.2 per cent, lesbian and bisexual women comprising 6.7 per cent, and trans and gender diverse people comprising 1.5 per cent. Double the proportion of intersex respondents (65) responded in 2018 as opposed to 2017.

“LGBTI employees want diverse workplaces where they feel included and supported – it isn’t only a moral imperative, it’s also just good business,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said.

“Fear of abuse or discrimination forces many LGBTI people to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity when they access health and wellbeing services, leading in many cases to an increase in anxiety or depression.

“The work Pride in Diversity does in helping businesses as well as employees create more diverse and productive workplaces, is making real and substantial cultural change within Australian workplaces. There is however, so much more work to be done, as evidenced by some of these results, to ensure all Australians can be themselves at work.”

Some of the key survey findings include:

  • One in ten non-LGBTI employees believe that LGBTI inclusion at work is no longer necessary following marriage equality; only 73 per cent of non-LGBTI employees agree that inclusion work is still necessary, compared to 91 per cent of LGBTI respondents, indicating that, for the latter group, there is still much to be done in supporting diversity at work.
  • Over 88 per cent of non-LGBTI respondents believe that LGBTI employees can comfortably be themselves at their workplace, compared to 80 per cent of LGBTI respondents. However, those LGBTI employees working at organisations active in inclusion feel much more comfortable, with 86 per cent believing they can comfortably be themselves at work.
  • Almost 10 per cent of LGB respondents from regional areas reported experiencing negative commentary or jokes, more than double the proportion experiencing these in the cities. An even higher number reported having been personally experienced bullied in the past year – almost 12 per cent in regional areas, compared to 6 per cent in metropolitan areas.
  • More than 13 per cent of gender diverse employees experienced ‘very high’ or ‘high’ levels of anxiety during the recruitment processes.
  • 22 per cent of LGB respondents in regional areas were also more likely to expend energy hiding their sexuality to fit in – compared to 18 per cent of those working in the city.
  • Gay men are the most likely to feel that inclusion initiatives have had a positive impact on how they feel about their sexual orientation (60 per cent) compared to 52 per cent of lesbians.

“Even with some recent successes in achieving LGBTI rights, there is still a tremendous amount of work to do, and it is important that in all aspects of Australian working life that we have businesses comprising of leaders, advocates and allies within Australia’s major business, governmental, sporting, health and educational institutions who know the importance of LGBTI inclusion,” Director of ACON’s Pride Inclusion Programs, Dawn Hough said.

“This positivity and support surrounding LGBTI inclusion within these workplaces is a testament to Australian employers and the incredible work that they have done in the area of diversity and inclusion, and Pride in Diversity have been honoured to be a part of that journey. We would like to acknowledge survey partners Dr. Ilro Lee, Academic Advisor and Post-Doctoral Research Fellow AGSM, Helen Conway, Goldman Sachs for their publication support and Dentons for hosting the survey launch event we held on August 24.

“This survey and the work being done to make workplaces inclusive of all Australians, not only speaks to the importance of the work Pride in Diversity does, but is also something which employers can be extremely proud.”


The results of the 2018 AWEI Employee survey can be found here.



For more information please contact:

David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications

E:   T: +61 (02) 9206 2044   M: +61 (0)428 477  042

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