Diversity & InclusionNews Ticker

Gen Z Wants More Inclusivity from Employers

Employers’ efforts around workplace inclusiveness are falling short with Gen Z workers in the LGBTQ+ community. They give their employer’s inclusion efforts a C+ grade compared to a B grade from other generations. What’s more, they are three times as likely to be unsure about their organization’s LGBTQ+ initiatives. That’s according to the 2024 EY U.S. LGBTQ+ Workplace Barometer, a study of 500 U.S. LGBTQ+ full-time corporate employees.  

Today, Gen Z identifies as LGBTQ+ at nearly six times the rate of Gen X and are expected to make up 30% of the total U.S. workforce by 2030, highlighting disconnects in employee engagement that need to be addressed. And millennials continue to view diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a priority, with 76% of employees saying they would leave an employer in DEI initiatives weren’t offered.  

“Feeling safe to be your authentic self is something that everyone should be entitled to, but we know reality is often more complex than that,” says Mitch Berlin, vice chair of strategy and transactions at EY Americas. “Company leaders should remain steadfast in their commitments to DEI, cultivate an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves, and offer the right resources so employees can thrive.”  

Cost of Ignoring Inclusion 

For many employees, an inclusive environment is a baseline expectation when it comes to joining an organization and a lack of it can drive them to leave the workplace. Only 38% of LGBTQ+ workers who rate their workplace experiences poorly are likely to say they expect to stay with their employer for the next year. 

For the average Fortune 500 company, which has about 62,000 employees, improving retention of LGBTQ+ employees by just 5% could result in annual savings of nearly $4.2 million in turnover costs alone. Conversely, LGBTQ+ workers who rate their workplace experiences high on the barometer are nearly three times more likely to say they intend to stay with their employer for another year.   

Understanding Generational Shifts 

Failing to reach and address the needs of a growing Gen Z LGBTQ+ workforce could mean missing out on a talent pool of up to 10 million workers over the next five years. LGBTQ+ Gen Z employees were also found to be three times as likely to be unsure about their organization’s LGBTQ+ initiatives. 

On average, Gen Z LGBTQ+ employees surveyed gave their employer’s inclusion efforts a C+ grade, compared to respondents from other generations who gave their employer’s a B grade, highlighting that Gen Z may have different expectations when evaluating employer actions. 

The Uneven Landscape 

In addressing the expectations and needs of the LGBTQ+ community within their workforce, organizations should keep in mind intersectional identities. The survey uncovered some stark findings of racially and ethnically diverse (R&ED) workers within the LGBTQ+ community. Among them: 

  • R&ED LGBTQ+ employees are nearly twice as likely than white LGBTQ+ employees to experience harassment at a previous employer. 
  • R&ED LGBTQ+ employees are more than twice as likely to experience microaggressions in the workplace. 

“Building and sustaining a culture where people feel seen and valued starts with leadership setting the tone at the top,” says Leslie Patterson, DEI leader at EY Americas. “Through listening, learning, offering support and taking action, leaders will build trust and credibility, which in turn can help their organizations stand out with a powerful and growing segment of the population.” 

Tags: LGBTQ+

Recent Articles