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Press Release | 04 Jul 2018

41% of LGBT+ people go ‘back in the closet’ in first job, independent multi-industry study across 15 countries finds

41% of LGBT+ people go ‘back in the closet’ in first job, independent multi-industry study across 15 countries finds

Vodafone has launched a multi-country programme to help attract and retain LGBT+ talent with specific support for young LGBT+ people starting their first job.

Infographic summarising new international research commissioned by Vodafone from research firm Out Now

Vodafone launches multi-country programme to help attract and support LGBT+ talent

More than half (58%) of young LGBT+ people are not open about their sexual orientation or gender identity at work because they worry they will face discrimination from managers and colleagues, with 1 in 3 (31%) LGBT+ people admitting they went ‘back into the closet’ when they started their first job. This figure rises to 41% among 18-25 year olds.

New international research – commissioned by Vodafone from research firm Out Now – surveyed more than 3,000[1] LGBT+ young people across 15 countries and multiple industries, and found that the reasons young LGBT+ people feel unable to be out or open at work include: worrying that colleagues will react negatively (60%); fearing their career prospects will be worse (42%); and feeling they will be less likely to get promoted (33%). Many of those surveyed said that not being open about their LGBT+ status had negative repercussions, with nearly one third (28%) saying they had been less productive at work as a result.

The Vodafone/Out Now research also found that over half (51%) of those surveyed said that they were ‘not out at all’ to their direct manager in their first job, and 37% were not out at all to their colleagues. These figures fall to 13% and 8% respectively in their current jobs, highlighting the need for more support when young people first start work.

This extensive research, along with insights gathered from current LGBT+ employees at Vodafone, has informed a new multi-country programme at Vodafone ‘LGBT+ and Friends Connect’, which is aimed at hiring and supporting LGBT+ people in their first jobs and providing training for managers.

Other findings from the research included:

  • 1 in 5 (21%) said that being out or open at work is the ‘hardest thing they’ve done’
  • Three quarters (76%) of LGBT+ employees have hidden their sexual orientation or gender identity at work at least once.
  • Only 29% of LGBT+ women aged 18-35 are out at work today compared with 44% of men, for fear of discrimination.
  • 83% said that clear and visible signs from managers that they take LGBT+ inclusion seriously are important in helping them to feel comfortable to be out or open at work.
  • 83% would prefer to work for an employer that has visible LGBT+ leaders, and LGBT+ friends, allies and supporters.

Infographic highlighting that 83% of LGBT+ people surveyed would prefer to work for an employer that has visible LGBT+ leaders, and LGBT+ friends, allies and supporters

To help create a culture where employees can be open about their sexual orientation and gender identity, Vodafone is launching:

  • LGBT+ inclusive messaging on Vodafone job adverts and career channels
  • A global ’buddying’ programme for LGBT+ graduates;
  • A refreshed Code of Conduct which will support LGBT+ inclusivity;
  • Graduate, induction and leadership training programmes to support, retain and help attract LGBT+ employees;
  • Toolkit for managers to create an LGBT+ inclusive workplace and
  • An interactive learning programme for ally accreditation.

Vodafone Group Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said:

“I am saddened that so many young LGBT+ people feel they still have to hide their status in the workplace. We are committed to creating a culture at Vodafone that embraces everyone for who they are, inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Training for employees at all levels and visible signs of support through programmes like ours can make a real difference, and help to attract and retain a talented, diverse and productive workforce. The programme offers specific support for people starting their first job, which our research shows can be a particularly challenging experience for young LGBT+ people. We are also encouraging all employees to educate themselves and support LGBT+ colleagues to help create a truly inclusive workplace.”

Vodafone has a zero tolerance stance on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination, and works closely with leading diversity and inclusion NGOs on the development of materials and programmes for each of its local and international initiatives.

Full set of survey results available to download here.

Video and infographics available to download here.

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[1] Out Now research conducted among 3,200 18-35 year olds in Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UK.

 

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Today we serve more than 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%.  Our customers voted us the UK’s Best Mobile Network at the 2018 Trusted Reviews Awards – for the second year in a row. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

We are part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest technology communications companies, with mobile operations in 26 countries, partnerships with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.  As of 30 September 2019, Vodafone Group had approximately 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers – including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk

 

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

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