Diversity and inclusion efforts have become increasingly important in today’s workplace, and it is increasingly understood that a truly inclusive work environment extends to employees of all backgrounds. While various employee groups have faced different barriers and distinct social expectations at work, many unfortunately have the shared experience of outright prejudice in the workplace. As LGBTQ+ Pride Month begins, we use Glassdoor data to shine a spotlight on LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace and how their experience differs. Our data shows that despite advances in equal rights for Americans who identify as LGBTQ+, there is still a significant gap in the workplace experiences of LGBTQ+ employees.
For this analysis, our data covers Glassdoor reviews in the U.S. submitted during the past year (April 25, 2021 to Apr 24, 2022) by current full-time or part-time employees who identify as LGBTQ+ or who identify as not part of the LGBTQ+ community. The dataset includes 209,112 reviews, including 27,014 from LGBTQ+ users. Of the 27,014 reviews from self-identifying LGBTQ+ Glassdoor users, 2,624 are from users who identify as transgender employees.
In our data, 13.0 percent of reviews submitted last year were from employees who identify as LGBTQ+. By contrast, according to a recent Gallup poll, as of 2021, 7.1 percent of Americans identify as LGBTQ+, though this percentage is higher for Generation Z (20.8 percent) and millennials (10.5 percent). Because official government statistics on LGBTQ+ employees are rare, Glassdoor's data can provide a unique window into the experiences of LGBTQ+ employees in the workplace.
Overall, LGBTQ+ employees are less satisfied with their workplace experience than non-LGBTQ+ employees. Table 1 below shows that LGBTQ+ employees rate their workplace experience 3.62 out of 5 stars on average, 0.23 stars or 6.0 percent worse than non-LGBTQ+ workers. LGBTQ+ employees rate Diversity & Inclusion the highest out of all workplace factors at 3.79 out of 5, though this is 0.21 stars or 5.2 percent worse than non-LGBTQ+ workers. Notably, LGBTQ+ workers rate Senior Leadership the lowest of all workplace factors at 3.28 out of 5 stars, 0.27 stars or 7.6 percent lower than non-LGBTQ+ workers.
For transgender employees, these gaps are even more pronounced. Transgender employees rate their workplace experience 3.43 out of 5 stars on average, 0.42 stars or 10.9 percent lower than non-LGBTQ+ employees. Transgender employees are a smaller part of the broader LGBTQ+ community, but often face more significant barriers at work that drive these larger gaps in workplace experience.
Transgender employees rate Diversity & Inclusion the highest of all workplace factors, though they rate it 3.63 out of 5, 0.37 stars or 9.3 percent lower than non-LGBTQ+ employees. Transgender employees' lowest rated workplace factor is Senior Leadership, rated 3.12 out of 5, 0.43 stars or 12.1 percent lower than non-LGBTQ+ employees.
|Category||LGBTQ+ (including Transgender)||Transgender||Not LGBTQ+|
|% Share of Ratings||13.0%||1.3%||87.0%|
|Diversity & Inclusion||3.79||3.63||4.00|
|Culture & Values||3.63||3.41||3.83|
|Compensation & Benefits||3.43||3.29||3.64|
LGBTQ+ employees rate their workplace experience lower because of the additional challenges and barriers that they face in the workplace. A Glassdoor-Harris Poll survey from 2019 found that over half (53 percent) of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ+ comments in the workplace, and nearly half (47 percent) reported believing being out at work could jeopardize their career.
While the average rating for LGBTQ+ employees is just 3.62, there are many companies whose LGBTQ+ employees report stronger workplace experiences. Table 2 below shows the 15 companies with the highest average ratings for LGBTQ+ employees over the last year. The top rated companies are Google (#1, 4.38), Microsoft (#2, 4.35) and H E B (#3, 4.28).
|Employer Name||LGBTQ+||Not LGBTQ+||Difference|
|H E B||4.28||4.40||-0.12|
|Bath & Body Works||4.14||4.07||0.06|
|Walt Disney Company||3.93||3.95||-0.02|
|Bank of America||3.80||4.00||-0.20|
The top 15 companies represent a diverse set of industries including tech, retail, insurance, telecommunications and finance, showing that creating an engaging workplace experience for LGBTQ+ employees is not exclusive to certain industries, but is instead possible across industries and employers.
Table 2 also highlights that while there are companies providing a healthy workplace experience for LGBTQ+ employees, that doesn't guarantee that the experience is equitable. By contrast, several companies like YMCA, AT&T and Google provide a more equitable workplace experience, with only small differences between the ratings of LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ employees.
It's important to recognize that strong employee satisfaction by itself doesn't guarantee equality in experience in the workplace. Employers applying a broad brush by creating a generally engaging workplace may miss out on specific challenges facing LGBTQ+ employees.
While the list of companies with the highest ratings by LGBTQ+ employees is quite diverse, some industries provide LGBTQ+ employees with a better, more welcoming workplace culture than others. The highest rated industries for LGBTQ+ employees are professional industries, which make up the first 3: Real Estate (#1, 3.99), Information Technology (#2, 3.91) and Legal (#3, 3.89). Production-based industries follow with Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services (#4, 3.81) and Energy, Mining & Utilities (#5, 3.79). Many of these are industries like tech where employees’ workplace experiences are rated higher overall as employers are generally more tolerant and flexible and the high demand for STEM workers pushes employers to offer more engaging workplace experiences.
|Rank||Industry||Average Rating - LGBTQ+|
|4||Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services||3.81|
|5||Energy, Mining & Utilities||3.79|
By contrast, the lowest rated industries for LGBTQ+ employees are primarily service industries like Retail & Wholesale (#1, 3.40), Restaurants & Food Service (#2, 3.51) and Personal Consumer Services (#3, 3.52). Healthcare (#4, 3.52) and Manufacturing (#5, 3.55), which also employ heavily in-person workforces, follow. These industries tend to have lower employee satisfaction due to lower pay and significant in-person interaction, which have become even more important considerations during the pandemic.
|Rank||Industry||Average Rating - LGBTQ+|
|1||Retail & Wholesale||3.40|
|2||Restaurants & Food Service||3.51|
|3||Personal Consumer Services||3.52|
Interestingly, the industries that have the most LGBTQ+ employees are not those with the highest ratings. Table 5 shows the industries with the highest share of LGBTQ+ employees. The industries with the largest shares of LGBTQ+ employees are largely frontline consumer service industries like Restaurants & Food Service (#1, 23.1 percent), Personal Consumer Services (#2, 19.0 percent), Retail & Wholesale (#4, 18.1 percent) and Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (#5, 17.9 percent). These industries also have lower LGBTQ+ employee ratings on average, illustrating that part of the gap in LGBTQ+ employee experience is due to LGBTQ+ employees being overrepresented in lower-paying and lower-satisfaction industries.
|Rank||Industry||% Share - LGBTQ+|
|1||Restaurants & Food Service||23.1%|
|2||Personal Consumer Services||19.0%|
|3||Nonprofit & NGO||18.3%|
|4||Retail & Wholesale||18.1%|
|5||Arts, Entertainment & Recreation||17.9%|
Table 6 shows the industries with the smallest share of LGBTQ+ employees. The five industries with the smallest shares of LGBTQ+ employees are all primarily industrial in nature and where many roles are often physical labor.
|Rank||Industry||% Share - LGBTQ+|
|1||Energy, Mining & Utilities||6.9%|
|2||Aerospace & Defense||7.0%|
|3||Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services||7.4%|
|5||Transportation & Logistics||9.5%|
Some notable professional industries like tech, consulting and finance are in the lower half of industries by share of LGBTQ+ representation. Management & Consulting (#14, 11.6 percent), Information Technology (#16, 11.0 percent) and Financial Services (#17, 10.3 percent) are all below the average of 13.0 percent across our dataset. Appendix A shows the full list of industries by share of LGBTQ+ employees and their ratings.
LGBTQ+ employees are more likely to discuss certain topics in Glassdoor reviews. For example, LGBTQ+ employees are 51 percent more likely to mention burnout-related terms. Over the past year, 8.1 percent of reviews by LGBTQ+ employees in 2022 discussed burnout and burnout-related keywords (e.g. burnout, burned out, depressed, exhausted, fatigue, stress, overworked, swamped) compared to 5.4 percent of reviews by non-LGBTQ+ employees.
Similarly, LGBTQ+ employees are 128 percent more likely to mention discrimination-related keywords. Over the past year, 1.5 percent of LGBTQ+ employee reviews included discrimination-related keywords (e.g. discriminate, microaggressions, harassment, excluded, bigot, bias, prejudice), while only 0.6 percent of non-LGBTQ+ employee reviews mention these terms.
|Keywords||LGBTQ+||Not LGBTQ+||% Difference|
LGBTQ+ employees make up a substantial minority of the American workforce, comprising 13.0 percent of employees in our data overall and as much as 23.1 percent in certain industries. But it is still very much the case that, in 2022, LGBTQ+ employees face unique challenges and barriers in the workplace. This not surprisingly makes their employee experience less satisfactory compared to peers who do not identify as LGBTQ+.
Employers need to ensure an equitable and inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it's also good business. A 2019 Glassdoor survey found that 70 percent of LGBTQ+ employees would not apply to work at a company that does not support its LGBTQ+ employees, so employers simply can't afford to disregard their LGBTQ+ employees. Ultimately, Glassdoor data shows that there is still much progress to be made when it comes to fostering an inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees.
|Industry||% Share - LGBTQ+||Average Rating - LGBTQ+|
|Restaurants & Food Service||23.1%||3.51|
|Personal Consumer Services||19.0%||3.52|
|Nonprofit & NGO||18.3%||3.60|
|Retail & Wholesale||18.1%||3.40|
|Arts, Entertainment & Recreation||17.9%||3.60|
|Hotels & Travel Accommodation||16.6%||3.68|
|Media & Communication||15.2%||3.78|
|Human Resources & Staffing||13.1%||3.78|
|Management & Consulting||11.6%||3.66|
|Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology||11.1%||3.60|
|Government & Public Administration||9.8%||3.65|
|Transportation & Logistics||9.5%||3.56|
|Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services||7.4%||3.81|
|Aerospace & Defense||7.0%||3.65|
|Energy, Mining & Utilities||6.9%||3.79|