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World’s first analysis of LGBT Workplace Allies released

A new study — ‘LGBT Allies: The Power of Friends’ — has been released today (3rd October), revealing key insights about the power of people who choose to positively support their LGBT colleagues at work.

Referred to as ‘Allies’, these people have in recent years been frequently cited by diversity and inclusion practitioners. This is the first time, however, that any large-scale evidence about the importance of LGBT Allies in the workplace has been compiled.  

The new study is released by Out Now — a diversity consulting specialist with 25 years’ experience recently named one of the ’Top 10 Diversity Consultants’ in the Global Diversity List.

The research was undertaken from January to August 2016 and sampled 2,584 LGBT Allies across 60 countries, including the UK, North America and Australia.

People who feel their company actively supports their role as an LGBT Ally say they are 13% more likely to stay working with their current employer. Retaining quality personnel is proved to be one of the important challenges facing modern businesses — this research reveals a new way for businesses to better achieve this through LGBT Allies.  


The most common positive action undertaken by LGBT Allies is to mention LGBT people or topics positively in the workplace - which was done by 87% of all respondents. 

The second most common action is speaking up against an anti-LGBT discussion others were having at work. This was undertaken by 43% of all respondents. 

An important factor affecting whether people choose to support LGBT colleagues is whether there is stated and visible support by management for doing so (this was cited as ‘very important’ by 63% of respondents).

As well as becoming more likely to remain with their current employer, respondents working with employers that provide formal support structures encouraging LGBT Allies at work report being 14% more likely to ‘strongly agree’ with the statement: ‘this is a great place to work’ when compared to respondents where such support is lacking.

However, in many countries sampled, less than half of all respondents said they worked in enterprises where such support is provided.

The research suggests many worry there may still exist a stigma over a person's sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace. 49% of respondents thought by supporting LGBT colleagues, others at work may assume the Ally themselves must be LGBT. The research in fact reveals most respondents to be heterosexual.  

Ian Johnson, chief executive officer of Out Now, said the new report is an important landmark. 


He commented, “We have seen research insights about LGBT people for almost 25 years, but until now there was no research data available about the important issues faced at work by LGBT Allies.

“The release of Out Now’s new ‘LGBT Allies: The Power of Friends’ report sheds powerful new light on key aspects of this group of people at work. We now understand in which ways LGBT Allies are operating and how enterprises can make their work more effective, to benefit everyone at work. In a competitive market environment, this information is invaluable to build workplaces that more effectively support LGBT people — and their Allies — at work. This is good news for the individuals themselves as well as the enterprises they work for.”

Johnson said that companies not currently providing formal support for their own LGBT Allies at work now have strong incentive to do so, based on the data contained in the new research.    

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

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