More than one third (36 per cent) of transgender employees admit to having left a job because of discrimination in the workplace, according to a new study.
The research conducted by leading UK job website, totaljobs, surveyed 400 tran workers from different industries across the UK, revealing 60 per cent have experienced some form of transphobic discrimination in the workplace.
It also found that over half (53 per cent) of trans people feel the need to hide their trans status from colleagues. As a result, 43 per cent admitted to actively looking for companies with trans-friendly policies before applying for jobs.
John Salt, Group Sales Director, totaljobs, said: “We hope that the findings of this report will generate further support and greater awareness of the employment issues facing trans workers, but clearly there is more to be done.
Sadly, discrimination in the workplace has been compounded by a lack of support from employers. Our survey reveals that more than a fifth (21 per cent) of employees said that there was no provision for trans people at their workplace, and 24 per cen had received no support or guidance from their HR departments when transitioning.
“A diverse workplace fosters greater creativity and benefit, company culture, not just skills and experience, but by creating an environment where people enjoy to work,” added Salt.
Transphobic discrimination was most likely to come from colleagues (38 per cent), and then from management (25 per cent). This has led to more than one third (36 per cent) of trans people leaving a job because the environment was unwelcoming. More than one quarter (29 per cent) have faced discrimination as early as the interview stage.
Rebecca Root, actress and voice teacher who works on vocal adaptation with trans clients, said: “Even with the advances made in recent years in changing societal perceptions of the trans community, these figures clearly indicate there is still a way to go in diminishing transphobia in the workplace. The quest for making such spaces safe for trans people must continue.”
Fox Fisher, filmmaker and trans activist, explained: “Staying in or seeking employment can be a potential nightmare when you’re trans. Many employers are unaware of our rights and we are often at a vulnerable stage of our transition. The irony is that so many trans people I know are extremely clever and willing to work.
“I was lucky that my employer was very supportive, although there was an adjustment phase which was difficult for everyone, including my new name, pronouns and getting used to my changes.”
Encouragingly, the survey also uncovered evidence of positive progress with 51 per cent of trans employees believing that acceptance and understanding of trans employees in the workplace has improved due to increased media focus on trans issues. While, half of those surveyed claimed to have received positive reactions from colleagues when they transitioned.
Emily Brothers, a Labour politician and the first openly transgender Labour MP, commented: “Too often the focus is on our transition, not how tough it is to get on with our lives with high levels of discrimination, not least in the labour market.
“Much needs to be done to better apply equality legislation and develop guidance and training for managers and their businesses. Gender identity is the new frontier of equality, which means many people still don’t understand or accept us.
“There is a lot of support out there. I certainly found transitioning at work some years ago less daunting than I feared, even though it was undoubtedly a very challenging experience. More needs to be done to (assist) employers, especially in supporting staff going through transition. That’s why I believe that some form of Statutory Leave would be supportive to trans people, helping them to retain their jobs and through a smoother transition pathway.”