Brace yourself. According to Business Insider, the average person will spend 90,000 hours of their life in the workplace.
That is an awful lot of time, particularly if something integral to you is considered taboo.
The LGBT movement has made a lot of progress in recent years and is gaining acceptance. Equal marriage rights have swept across Europe, most recently with the passing of a historic bill in Germany. However, in the office, LGBT progress is lagging behind. For example, as many as 62 per cent of Generation Y LGBT graduates went back into the closet when they started their first job.
So, why is this, and why should we care?
The LGBT community has historically been underrepresented in business, creating a challenging environment for authenticity. Across nations, ages and hierarchies, LGBT professionals lack aspirational role models, much like in sport. We need to build stronger supporting networks to bring these leaders forward. After all, it's good for both people and business.
Research by the Williams Institute has shown that an LGBT-supportive environment improves health outcomes and satisfaction in the workplace. Furthermore, businesses can expect dramatic improvements in job retention and commitment from open LGBT employees. According to the Financial Times, those closeted in the workplace are 70 per cent more likely to leave the company within the first three years.
Companies are beginning to recognise this, and every year diversity becomes more ubiquitous in business. However, we need to do better – we need a catalyst to increase LGBT representation in business and leadership across the world.