Whenever anyone (especially a candidate) asks me why I work in tech, a few responses come to mind immediately. I could say it’s because I like to be part of something that impacts so many people's daily lives, or that I’m inspired by the innovation and creativity that dominates the industry, or that I’m excited by the out of the box thinking that helps solve complex problems. All of that is true, but to be honest the reason that resonates most with me is a little more personal: I am incredibly grateful to working in an industry that promotes an inclusive and open culture, especially for those of us that identify as LGBTQ. Not only does this make for happy employees, but it’s also good business: 1 in 4 LGBTQ employees attribute staying at their jobs specifically to an inclusive environment.
Unfortunately this type of corporate culture is not the norm. According to a study by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), 53% of LGBTQ employees feel that they need remain in the closet where they work. The same study found that more than half said they regularly hear disparaging jokes about LGBTQ people at work, and 1 in 4 said they heard someone say something explicitly negative about the LGBTQ community. In fact, 31% said they felt generally socially unwelcome at work, and 35% felt they had to lie about their personal life. These are pretty sobering statistics, and in combination they add up to an environment that can make LGBTQ employees feel isolated, alone, and much less likely to succeed.
Recently, though, change has started to happen across the board and I’m proud to see the tech industry leading the way. According to the Corporate Equality Index for 2015, a report published by the HRC about LGBTQ inclusivity at the workplace, 21 tech companies got a perfect score - that’s the largest out of any industry in the country. When the legislature in North Carolina introduced an anti-LGBTQ bill, 68 tech companies publicly joined the HRC in taking legal action to stop it. You can regularly find leaders in the tech world marching at LGBTQ Pride parades across the country, and they are often some of the biggest sponsors. On a less public scale, tech companies were some of the first to offer benefits to same-sex domestic partnerships and to expand health care options to include gender transition.
There’s still a lot to do, but this is a start and I feel lucky to be a part of the industry that’s leading the charge. As a recruiter, I’m grateful to be able to connect candidates with opportunities and do
my part to actively build this exceptional community.
written by Michael Aiyar, Recruiting Associate