How Safe Do LGBTQ+ Individuals Feel in Tech?

Do LGBTQ+ individuals who work in tech feel safe in their workplaces? Blind, which anonymously surveys technologists, went out and asked—and received some interesting answers in return.

According to Blind’s report (PDF), some 86 percent of technologists overall felt that their companies were safe places to work for LGBTQ+ individuals. However, 76 percent of LGBQ individuals and 64 percent of trans or gender non-conforming employees actually felt safe. Clearly there’s a bit of a dichotomy between employees’ perception of their workplace safety, and how LGBTQ+ individuals really feel about it.  

In a worrisome twist, the percentages of those feeling safe within their workplaces has dipped year-over-year:

Similar gaps popped up in other parts of Blind’s survey. For instance, although 74 percent of overall respondents thought their company offered “inclusive” health and family policies for LGBTQ+ workers, only 69 percent of LGBQ and 64 percent of trans or gender non-conforming respondents felt the same way.

Perhaps the starkest contrast came with questions of management. Although 55 percent of overall respondents felt that they were represented by their company’s upper management, only 35 percent of LGBQ and 41 percent of trans or gender non-conforming employees could say the same. 

The technology industry has spent years struggling with its diversity efforts. Although many firms (including the largest) have made very public shows of trying to boost the hiring and retention of underrepresented groups, diversity reports often show that real progress is slow. Advocacy organizations such as O4U (Out for Undergrad) and oSTEM (a nonprofit association for LGBTQ+ people in the STEM community) are also dedicated to broadening the pipeline for LGBTQ+ technologists and developers. 

Stack Overflow’s most recent edition of its Developer Survey, in which it asked tens of thousands of developers about everything from their favorite programming languages to their educational background, also queried them about their sexual orientation: 

Another question asked developers whether they were transgender:

For managers and executives, it’s not just a matter of refining the talent pipeline. Taking into account the safety of underrepresented employees might also be a good first step, as the Blind survey indicates there’s some serious concern in that area. 

5 Responses to “How Safe Do LGBTQ+ Individuals Feel in Tech?”

  1. Nunya Bizness

    I’m queer and autistic. I don’t admit either on the job despite the generous lip service my employer pays to diversity, because I suspect it’s nothing *but* lip service. Nor do I talk about politics, beliefs, or anything else at work that can be held against me by somebody in management who disagrees with me. Nor do I socialize with anybody I work with outside of work. I have the sort of wall between work and the rest of my life that Thomas Jefferson wanted to erect between church and state, because when you live in a state where “at-will employment” is the law, YOU ARE NOT SAFE TO BE YOURSELF AT WORK.

  2. I don’t generally think sexuality belongs in a professional environment and this is because it’s important to treat people based on their merit.

    Meritocracy is what matters at work. If you’re professional, cordial, considerate, empathetic, and overall good, that’s what counts. I don’t mind if you’re straight, gay, or pedophilic.

    Not everyone feels comfortable around others who are different. Be empathetic to them. They’re hateful or phobic because of personal experiences or influence from the anger/fear porn news. Be professional and make a good impression.

  3. You shouldn’t read too much into small differences on such a small sample. Even the apparently large gap for trans fits within the margin of error: 22%, assuming 1% of the 2000 were trans as with the other survey. (Which would be slightly overrepresented compared with the general population’s 0.6%)

    Your last paragraph implies that sexual minorities are underrepresented, but the numbers look roughly consistent with the general population. A comparison to other industries would be instructive to know if the issue is tech or if it is bigger than tech.

    Not that any conclusions are wrong, they’re just not supported by presented evidence.

  4. I didn’t realize Dice was a forum dedicated to the various social issues taking place in our country. I actually thought it was a site primarily devoted to securing jobs, which is what I really come here for. What’s next…Black Lives Matter? Or maybe how the 1619 Project affects the workplace?

    Keep the inflammatory drivel off of your site, Dice. There’s enough chaos in the world right now without a job site with a political agenda.

  5. Steve C#

    One of my siblings transitioned from male to female. She was a Windows System Admin with many years of experience and was very good at it. After the transistion she was “laid off” by the accounting firm she worked for.

    Since then she has not able to get another job in that field in Seattle. Now she drives an 18 wheel semi. I find it telling that the “enlightened woke” will not hire her but the “knuckle draggers” will.