Report shows transgender people increasingly hiding identities at work

The number of transgender people hiding their true identities at work has risen sharply in the past five years, according to UK research.

The modern world is undoubtedly more inclusive than ever before, and workforces are becoming increasingly diverse in most sectors. Yet alarming reports from the UK continue to remind us that we’re far from perfect.

When it comes to working in the UK in 2021, transgender people are said to be concealing their true identities at a rate of almost two in three. This represents a significant spike from five years back, when around half of trans employees felt this way.

This wakeup call arrives courtesy of a study from recruitment firm TotalJobs, which compiled its report on a YouGov survey sample of over 400 trans individuals – one of the largest samples to date in the UK.

Asking questions which entailed everything from an employee’s feeling of agency within a workplace, to negative experiences or discrimination throughout the job hunting process, the survey returned a number of surprising results, some good and some really bad.

The stat that immediately hops off the page shows that that half of the respondents had actually left a previous job because they felt their work environment was unwelcoming.

Up by 7% in that regard since government surveys of 2016, the general consensus from TotalJobs report authors is that most believed leaving a toxic work environment for a new job to be a more feasible solution than trusting an employer to step in.

Despite the introduction of inclusive legal measures in the last decade, chiefly the Equality Act 2010, a third of respondents felt as though they had been bullied or discriminated against at work, including being deliberately addressed by the wrong name or pronoun. Saddening news, we know.

‘To hear that the number of trans people experiencing this has increased since our last report in 2016 is deeply concerning,’ said TotalJobs chief Jon Wilson. ‘As employers, we need to ask serious questions as to what we can do to improve this state of affairs and ensure we’re championing a culture that is inclusive of trans individuals.’

Though few and far between, there were a few crumbs of positivity from the survey worth mentioning.

The number of people responding positively to a colleague coming out as trans remained at 50% while the percentage of negative reactions dropped by 5%. Those who felt discriminated against during the application stage came down from a third in 2016, to a fifth in the latest review.

Granted, it is hard to look for positives when faced with the overarching reality that more people feel the need to conceal their identities than ever before in the UK. We must also consider the possibility that perhaps we haven’t fallen behind as such, but are only now understanding the magnitude of the problem fully thanks to such a sizable survey.

Either way, that doesn’t change the obvious fact that work needs to be done to change attitudes and protect employees. After such a tough and mentally demanding year, the least everyone deserves is to feel valued and comfortable at work.

If you’re interested in delving into the specifics of what constitutes a trans-inclusive and de-gendered workspace, then head here for a comprehensive breakdown.


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