The Power of Out
“THE POWER OF OUT”
NEW STUDY SHOWS INCLUSIVE WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENTS
FOR LGBT EMPLOYEES
ARE CRUCIAL FOR CAREER PROGRESSION AND BOTTOM LINE
New York, NY: June 21, 2011 – A new study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, featured in
the July/August issue of the Harvard Business Review, quantifies the loss to individuals and to
the bottom line when organizations fail to create a workplace hospitable to their lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. The data, based on a survey of 2,952 respondents,
show the consequences when LGBT employees are forced to keep their lives and loved ones a
secret from colleagues. Among the findings:
• This is a highly desirable labor pool: ambitious (71%), committed (88% are willing to go
the extra mile for employers) and better educated (48% of LGBT respondents have
graduate degrees versus 40% of their straight counterparts).
Despite a rise in anti-discrimination protections for LGBT employees, 48 percent of LGBT
survey respondents reported being closeted at work. Staying in the closet has huge
consequences. Those who are out flourish at work, while those who are in the closet
languish or leave.
• LGBT employees who are not out reported significantly greater feelings of being stalled
in their careers and greater dissatisfaction with their rates of promotion and advancement.
• LGBT employees who are not out are 40 percent less likely to trust their employer than
those who are out.
• Employees who remain closeted and isolated are 73 percent more likely to leave their
companies within the next three years.
This is a group with economic clout and loyalty to gay friendly brands. A recent study estimates
the LGBT community’s collective buying power at more than $700 billion in the U.S. alone.
This is a constituency with economic firepower companies should not ignore.
According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, founding President of the Center for Work-Life Policy and a
coauthor of the study: “Organizations that encourage all of their employees to bring their whole
selves to work have the greatest opportunity for innovation and growth.”
“Being 'out' on Wall Street has gone from unimaginable thirty years ago to being widely
accepted today with Wall Street helping lead this change,” said Todd Sears, an advisor to this
study and founder of “Out on the Street,” the LGBT Wall Street leadership consortium, which
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What We Do
NCRW is a network of leading university and community based research, policy, and advocacy centers with a growing global reach dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls. We also have a Corporate Circle comprised of senior diversity professionals from leading U.S. and global member companies and a Presidents Circle of college and university leaders who share our commitment. NCRW harnesses the collective power of its network to provide knowledge, analysis, and thought leadership on issues ranging from reducing women’s poverty to building a critical mass of women’s leadership across sectors.