A study out of the UK has found that 32 per cent of workers in managerial positions stay in the closet out of fear of discrimination.
The study, published by responsible business organisation Business in the Community, looks into the experiences of employees around mental health.
72 per cent of LGBTI participants said they experienced mental health issues as a result of work, but only 46 per cent have been formally diagnosed.
While 60 per cent said they felt comfortable being open about their identity at work, 26 per cent said they feel uncomfortable.
One in four said they had hidden that they identify as LGBTI in the past year in order to avoid discrimination, with higher figures among those who identify as bisexual (29 per cent) and those aged 18 to 29 (35 per cent).
Nine per cent of employees have been encouraged by a colleague to hide their identity, with this figure jumping to 16 per cent from LGBTI people of colour, and 28 per cent when that group is narrowed down to those in executive or board member positions.
Non-white LGBTI employees were more than twice as likely to have experienced negativity from customers, and seven per cent of LGBTI workers said they have been physically attacked by colleagues or customers, with this figure rising among blue collar workers (13 per cent), non-white respondents (15 per cent), non-binary folks (20 per cent) and senior leaders (30 per cent).
The Diversity Council of Australia’s Out at Work: From Prejudice to Pride report, published in August, presented similar figures as part of a study of Australian LGBTI workers.
Only 32 per cent of LGBTI people are out to everyone at work, and those who aren’t are twice as likely to feel down as employees who are out.
The Out at Work report found that employees in organisations that were highly LGBTI inclusive were at least twice as likely to work effectively, innovate, and provide excellent customer service.