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A new LGBTQ workforce has arrived — is your mobility program keeping up?

As the workforce continues to change, is your company and global mobility program keeping up?

According to the BCG article below, despite significant investment and decades of hard work, organizations still need to do more:

"Consider that 40% of LGBTQ employees are closeted at work and 75% have reported experiencing negative day-to-day workplace interactions related to their LGBTQ identity in the past year."  

BCG explains that the LGBTQ workforce is far more racially diverse and more likely to include women, transgender employees, and people with more varied sexual orientations than in the past, particularly among younger generations.

On top of that, the article explains that negative touch points are costly to companies because employees that experience more negative touch points are 40% less productive and 13 times more likely to quit.

So what do mobility programs need to consider?

For LGBTQI employees who are relocating or going on an international assignment, there continue to be a wide variety of challenges, a few of which are:

  • Refusal of spousal visas if same-sex marriage is not legal in that country.
  • Access to healthcare and other benefits can be restricted for those relocating as a same-sex couple
  • LGBTQI people may face a difficult workplace climate, as well as a perceived lack of career opportunities or status at work.
  • Relocation to countries where homosexuality is illegal may leave LGBTQI employees at risk of arrest and harassment.

Some of the more challenging locations that we find clients sending people to are Russia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. According to this article by QRIUS, companies need to take into account the experience of LGBTQI employees on international assignment because it can be a frustrating, lonely and maybe even a physically dangerous experience. The reality for LGBTI employees that are relocating for a foreign assignment is that they are more likely to experience hardships as compared to the typical expatriate.

If taking a blind eye is not your preferred method of support, then taking the path of acknowledging the challenges and concentrating on efforts to support LGBTQI expatriates through their international assignment experience is your alternative. This primarily comes in the shape of improved communication and the flexibility to reassign or return early from assignment. Mobility managers need to be aware of what is going on in the world and how that could impact the employees being sent abroad.  

While travel has some inherent risk for all employees, LGBTQI employees often face a greater degree of risk than most. This guide is designed to help LGBTQI travelers navigate those layers. Stonewall's "Safe Travels: Global Mobility for LGBT Staff" is a 24-page guide with best practice tips for supporting LGBTQI staff.

The IGLTA also has a mission to provide information and resources for LGBTQ+ travelers and provides travel guides along with this travel safety guide. Additionally, the U.S. Department of State provides special considerations, advice and educational information for LGBTI travelers.

Lastly, tap back into one of our previous posts, "LGBT expatriate rights on the rise," and check out our Relo Tip Tuesday video on supporting LGBTQ relocating employees

Today’s LGBTQ workforce has undergone a fundamental, generational shift, both in how it defines itself and what it expects of workplace inclusion. The LGBTQ workforce is far more racially diverse and more likely to include women, transgender employees, and people with more varied sexual orientations than in the past, particularly among younger generations. Of LGBTQ employees under age 35, 28% are people of color who identify as women, versus just 2% of those aged 55 or older. Consequently, the diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in place at many companies, while beneficial, are no longer sufficient.


talent management, global mobility, relocation, diversity, d&i, inclusive, work culture, talent attraction, duty of care, safety and security, travel guides