The number of transgender people who hide their trans identity at work has risen sharply in the past five years, navorsing het getoon.
According to a report by recruitment firm TotalJobs, almost two-thirds of trans people, 65%, believe it is necessary to keep their identity secret from colleagues to feel safe and secure in their jobs. Five years ago just over half of trans people felt this way.
“To hear that the number of trans people experiencing this has increased since our last report in 2016 is deeply concerning,” said Jon Wilson, CEO of TotalJobs. “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.”
The report is based on a YouGov survey of over 400 trans workers, one of the largest research samples of its kind to date in the UK.
Half of the respondents said that they had left a job because a work environment was unwelcoming, a 7% increase since 2016. The report’s authors suggested workers feel their best solution to discrimination is to find a new job, rather than trust their employer to step in. This is despite the legal protection from discrimination that trans people have under the Equality Act 2010. A third of respondents reported being bullied at work, including being deliberately addressed by the wrong name or pronoun.
There were some positive findings, including fewer negative experiences in job hunting. For instance, a fifth of respondents said they had experienced discrimination while applying for a job, down from almost a third five years ago.
Lee Clatworthy of transgender charity Sparkle believes this positive trend could be encouraged further: “We would recommend de-gendering the language on application forms and throughout the recruitment process to ensure the first interaction with your company is as inclusive as possible.”
The survey data showed that the number of people reacting positively to a colleague coming out as trans remained steady at 50%, while the percentage of those reacting overtly negatively dropped from 10% five years ago to 5% nou.
Ben Hodge, a 21-year-old transgender student in Manchester, said he has noticed people becoming less openly hostile through his experience of part-time work including as a theatre usher and in TV production. “From my first ever job in a milkshake shop when I was 17, I have definitely seen attitudes change. My first manager never said anything directly to me, but he often spoke negatively about another trans colleague to my workmates.”
Egter, he said that being trans could still cause stress at work: “If something was to ever happen to me in the workplace that I contribute to, I might not be supported. It’s hard not to feel like I’m a lower status citizen compared to my colleagues, just for being my true self.”