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Majority of UK’s trans workers experience work-based conflict

Saleha Riaz
·3 min read
Around 12% of trans workers have experienced unwanted sexual attention at work and 2% have experienced sexual assault, according to a survey. Photo: Getty Images
Around 12% of trans workers have experienced unwanted sexual attention at work and 2% have experienced sexual assault, according to a survey. Photo: Getty Images

LGBT+ workers, and in particular trans workers, experience higher levels of conflict and lower job satisfaction at work, a new report revealed.

More than half (55%) of trans workers surveyed said they had experienced conflict over a 12-month period and at least 50% of these conflicts were unresolved, according to research by by professional body for HR and people development CIPD.

“Conflicts typically involve being undermined/ humiliated or discriminatory behaviour aimed at a protected characteristic,” the report noted.

Around 12% of trans workers said they have experienced unwanted sexual attention at work and 2% have experienced sexual assault.

Trans workers were also least likely to feel psychologically safe at work, which means they feel they are not accepted, valued or able to voice concerns.

Just over 50% of trans workers reported feeling ‘somewhat to very satisfied’ with their job and a third (33%) said they felt ‘somewhat to very dissatisfied’.

Meanwhile the report said over 40% of LGB+ workers experienced a conflict at work over a 12-month period, compared with 29% of heterosexual workers.

LGB+ and heterosexual workers reported similar job satisfaction levels with around 66% of both groups saying they felt ‘somewhat to very satisfied’ at work.

However, a slightly higher proportion of LGB+ workers felt ‘somewhat to very dissatisfied’ with their job (19%), compared with heterosexual workers (15%).

READ MORE: Businesses led by ethnic minorities contribute £74bn annually to UK economy

The report draws on data from the CIPD’s UK Working Lives Survey and a separate survey of trans workers, hence the use of LGB+ rather than LGBT in the findings.

Melanie Green, research adviser for the CIPD, noted that “everyone has the right to feel safe, to be themselves and to flourish at work. Employers must do more to support these groups and create inclusive cultures that have zero tolerance of bullying and harassment of any kind.”

The CIPD said it is calling for employers to create inclusive workplaces, recognise the specific needs of groups within the LGBT+ spectrum and eradicate discrimination and harassment.

“When creating inclusive practices, employers must recognise the unique challenges faced by LGBT+ workers. For instance, recognising that a lesbian will face very different challenges to a trans person at work,” said Green.

The report also recommends employers ensure LGBT+ staff have voice mechanisms and feel safe using them to highlight problems.

It also said there is a need to train line managers to understand particular concerns and challenges faced by LGBT+ workers.

Luke Fletcher, associate professor at the University of Bath’s School of Management, and co-author of the report, noted that during the pandemic “we’ve seen a lot of blanket changes come into place to protect employee wellbeing but businesses must also think about how best to adapt broader policies and practices to specific minority groups such as those within the LGBT+ spectrum.”

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