Two-thirds of LGBTQ+ workers cover their personality at work and are twice as likely to be victims of discrimination

  • Two-thirds (64%) of LGBTQ+ people hide their personality during a job interview
  • LGBTQ+ people are twice as likely as the overall population to have changed their appearance at work due to discrimination
  • LGBTQ+ employees are twice as likely as the overall population to feel ashamed of covering their true selves at work
  • Only half (49%) of people say they would actively stick up for LGBT, women’s rights or disability groups at work
  • 7 out of 10 (70%) LGBTQ+ employees cover their true selves at non-inclusive organisations
  • Covering is the act of hiding elements of our authentic selves in an effort to fit in
  • Discover more about covering at work here:

OCTOBER 2018 – LONDON, UK – New research has today revealed that the LGBTQ+ community are much more likely to cover their true selves at work than the overall population. The LGBTQ+ community do so in a bid to earn acceptance from their colleagues and, most shockingly, as a result of discrimination.

According to a survey of 4,127 people across the country, commissioned by leading job board totaljobs, the majority (52%) think people should change their personality for work. This is particularly the case for the LGBTQ+ community and it is evident from the moment that employees first meet their potential new employers. Indeed, two-thirds (64%) of LGBTQ+ people change their personality for interviews.

In fact, many LGBTQ+ employees continue to cover their true selves once they have passed probation, with a third (31%) of this community continuing to do so compared to a quarter (25%) of the overall population. This act of covering can even remain beyond traditional working hours, with 5 out of 10 (50%) LGBTQ+ people saying they keep their guard up at work-related events and company socials.

The research suggests that many UK workers could be doing more to create environments where LGBTQ+ workers feel they can be their true selves. While almost three-quarters (71%) of people agree that employees should stick up for LGBTQ+, women’s rights or disability groups, only half (49%) said they would actively do so in the workplace.

There is clear correlation between the inclusivity of a company and the number of LGTBQ+ people who cover. Indeed, 7 out of 10 (70%) LGBTQ+ employees cover their true selves while working at non-inclusive companies.

Changing how LGBTQ+ people look at work

The research suggests that it is not only their personality that employees feel they need to change at work. The figures showed that (52%) of the LGBTQ+ community also think people should fit in through their appearance at work.

There are many reasons why people feel that they need to cover their true appearance at work. Though the most common reason is the nature of the job (35%), the research highlighted that the LGBTQ+ community are twice as likely to have changed their appearance at work due to discrimination. Indeed, 1 in 8 (12%) LGBTQ+ employees change their appearance as a result of discrimination, compared to just 6% of the overall population.

Overall, there is a clear trend of LGBTQ+ employees feeling they need to cover to meet the expectations of their work environment and their colleagues. A fifth (19%) of LGBTQ+ people cover because they want to fit into the company and their typical style wouldn’t allow that, compared to 1 in 7 (14%) of the overall population. Meanwhile, 1 in 6 (16%) cover because they don’t feel their typical style would make a good impression.

What does this tell us?

 The LGBTQ+ community are much more likely to feel reserved by covering themselves at work. Just a third (38%) of LGBTQ+ are comfortable changing their personality for work, compared to almost half (46%) of the overall population. In contrast, the LGBTQ+ community are twice as likely to feel ashamed of changing their personality at work, with 1 in 6 (16%) feeling this way compared to just 7% of the overall population.

The inclusivity of a company makes a big difference to the LGBTQ+ community and whether they cover themselves at work. Indeed, 7 out of 10 (70%) LGBTQ+ employees cover themselves in a non-inclusive company. This is significantly more than at inclusive companies, where just over half (54%) cover and is comparable to the overall population (52%).

Martin Talbot, Group Marketing Director, at totaljobs, said: “There is an assumption that employees should be comfortable expressing their true selves at work. However, this research has identified this is not the case and that a startling amount of people go as far as changing their personality and appearance.

It is important that companies encourage an environment where the LGBTQ+ community feels welcome. It is staggering that up to 70% of LGBTQ+ employees cover their true selves at work and it is unacceptable that they’re twice as likely as the rest of the population to be victims of discrimination. It is clear that employers need to do more to prioritise the well-being of their LGBTQ+ employees and the inclusivity of their organisations so they feel comfortable expressing their true selves.”

– ENDS –

About totaljobs:

Formed in 1999, totaljobs is one of UK’s leading job boards, attracting 14 million visits and nearly 4 million applications from qualified jobseekers every month. 120,000 new candidates register with us each month who have an average of 190,000 jobs to choose from, posted by thousands of employers.

In May 2018, totaljobs partnered with Jobsite to become the UK’s largest hiring platform offering employers the opportunity to advertise vacancies across both platforms from one system, and access to almost half of the UK working population.

Totaljobs and Jobsite are part of the StepStone Group, one of the world’s leading e-recruitment businesses. With a head office in London and offices in Birmingham, Havant, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Glasgow, StepStone in the UK comprises totaljobs and Jobsite plus nine additional job boards. These include:, CatererGlobal, CWJobs, Milkround, CityJobs, RetailChoice, CareerStructure, JustEngineers and emedcareers. Together these brands provide access to 17.6 million searchable candidate profiles.