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It’s Pride Month. This weekend in particular, festivities across the US, highlight the influence of the LGBTQ+ movement. Including Pride Parades in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, where some of the Meet team will be in attendance. Celebrated throughout June each year, LGBTQ+ month honours the 1969 stonewall riots in Manhattan, a turning point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the US.
Whilst progress has been made, this month also offers an opportunity to reflect on the difficulties still faced by the LGBTQ+ community today. For Meet in particular, as a recruitment company, Pride is an opportunity to highlight and comment on issues affecting recruitment and retention in business.
Given that it is estimated, between 5-10% of people are LGBTQ+, the community is significantly underrepresented in business. Before 2014, when Tim Cook the head of Apple came out, there were no openly LGBTQ+ chief executives in the fortune 500 - few role models to follow.
There is no argument that diversity is good for business. Within our own business we have a commitment to equality and diversity. For us, having diverse minds, with a variety of skills and a range of perspectives provides a broader understanding of the candidates and clients we work with. In an increasingly diverse and global marketplace, the success of the company depends upon leveraging diverse talent.
Being committed to equality and diversity should not be about simple legal compliance, but about empowering individuals and being an employer of choice, which in turn benefits future recruitment. Additionally, a company that supports employees irrespective of skin colour, gender or sexuality will foster a loyal workforce, with high retention and will raise industry standards.
Darren Towers, from the ‘Workplace Equality Index’, comments that “People perform better when they can be themselves. Businesses with high-performing staff typically have inclusive policies, benefits that apply to everyone, and a workplace culture where diversity is not just welcomed but championed at all levels.”
Steadily, more and more businesses are introducing inclusive policies. In fact, 92% of Fortune 500 companies have policies in place that specifically protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Despite this, surveys (such as the HRC’s study about workplace inclusion) suggest that many LGBTQ+ employees wouldn’t feel comfortable coming out at work.
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, a non-profit organisation dedicated to workplace equality, believe passionately that education is key in overcoming the unconscious bias in the workplace – a factor which contributes to LGBTQ+ people feeling the need to stay closeted. Proactive diversity training programmes tackle the unconscious bias that both affects recruitment and career progression. Attitudes are changing. But we still have a long way to go.
So, in honor of the events across the US this weekend and month - we hope to have highlighted the struggle that still affects many people in the workplace. But our support isn’t just needed during Pride month; this is a pledge from Meet Recruitment in support of equality, not just at this weekend’s celebrations, but always.