A new research survey by the Diversity Council of Australia, the Star Observer, and RMIT University is investigating what motivates Australian LGBTI workers to come out in their workplace.

The researchers are calling on the community to help ensure the research can have the impact it deserves by completing an online survey.

“Research suggests that almost 40 per cent of LGBTI Australian workers don’t share their LGBTI identity at work,” said Diversity Council of Australia research manager Cathy Brown.

“Even among Australia’s leading employers the figures still don’t look good.

“We want to understand why this is the case and what leading organisations can do to make their workplaces safe and comfortable for LGBTI workers to be themselves.”

The research will explore what motivates Australian LGBTI workers to come out at work, what makes it safe to do so, and how that links with satisfaction and productivity at work.

LGBTI Australians still report homophobic and transphobic discrimination in the workplace.

“It’s [almost] unimaginable in this day and age in Australia, that being outed would mean you could lose your job,” said Brown.

“More and more organisations now want to show that they support the LGBTI community and their staff.

“So times have changed. But how much have things actually changed? And how safe really is it for Australian workers to be out at work?”

The survey is being led by RMIT University’s Dr Raymond Trau, who specialises in workplace diversity, stigma in the workplace, and job and career experiences of LGBTI employees.

“Mounting evidence suggests that coming out is linked to positive work attitudes among LGBTI employees,” said Dr Trau.

“Despite these positive research findings, a large proportion of LGBTI employees continue to hide their LGBTI identity and experience homophobia and transphobia at work.”

The research team is asking community members to take the survey and to share it among their colleagues, or other interested people in their networks.

Responses will be aggregated to develop evidence-based practical guidance for organisations on how they can create safe workplace environments in which LGBTI people feel comfortable being who they are.

The survey, which is sponsored by Deloitte and QBE, will be open until March 17 2018.

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