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What Can Companies Do to Better Engage LGBT Women?

By Melissa J. Anderson

Our most recent research on LGBT women in the professional services revealed how senior leadership plays an important role in building an inclusive culture, one in which LGBT women can thrive. In fact, 53% of our respondents said senior management at their companies visibly and vocally support LGBT initiatives.

This research was focused mainly in the US. While we believe the study revealed important insight about how senior individuals can influence the careers of LGBT employees, we also believe that the wider national culture in which companies are situated has an impact as well. In that vein, we have launched a new study on LGBT women in financial services, specifically in the context of the UK’s unique workplace environment.

While about half of the respondents to our first survey (55.4%) said coming out has not or would not hurt their career advancement, other research has shown that lesbians in the professional workplace often feel they are a “double-minority.” Both LGBT and female, many feel they have two glass ceilings to break through, or as Stonewall has described it, they must contend with the “double glazed glass ceiling.”

How do UK LGBT women in finance feel about their opportunities for advancement? How do employee resource groups or affinity networks, as well as workplace relationships and straight allies affect the career paths of this group? How can UK companies better engage and propel this group of women to success?

These are questions we hope to answer with our upcoming research – and we’ll need your help to find out.

If you are an LGBT women in the financial services in the UK, please take our survey here: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/882311/LGB-Workplace-Survey. It only takes about 10 minutes, and all answers will remain confidential and anonymous. Please feel free to share the link with colleagues who may provide valuable input as well. (We also welcome the participation of LGBT men and straight allies!)

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