Employers take note: LGBTQ workers are less satisfied with their jobs and benefits

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Only 44% of LGBTQ workers said that they were extremely or very satisfied with their current jobs

There seems to be almost a tug of war going on between employers and employees over who has the upper hand. First, there was the so-called Great Resignation of 2021, where it it was employees who had their choice of where to go; a McKinsey report published in July 2022 found that 40% of employees are currently considering leaving their jobs. 

More recently, however, it appears to be shifting back as companies have a rich supply of talent who have been laid off; over 67,000 tech workers lost their jobs in 2022, meaning there’s a talented pool of workers for employers to choose from, meaning they can be choosier about who they hire.

Even if companies can be more methodical, though, they still need to keep in mind what will attract the best talent, and how to appeal to an increasingly diverse workforce.

Take LGBTQ workers, for example: the 2022 Workplace Wellness Survey (WSS), conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald Research, found was that these workers were less likely to be satisfied with their job, employee benefits package, and paid leave. 

The national sample for the WSS was 1,014 workers, of which 101, or 11%, identified as LGBTQ; because of the fact that 101 people isn’t a large sample, the firms did an oversample of 504 additional LGBTQ workers, bringing the total to 605. The firms explained that this was done in order to “better understand the unique workplace wellness needs of such workers and to explore and identify potential differences in attitudes, experiences, and behaviors related to workplace wellness.”

While 61% of non-LGTBQ workers said that they were “extremely or very satisfied with their current job” only 44% of LGBTQ workers said the same. For those making less than $35,000 a year, the numbers were 50% and 36%, respectively; for those making $75,000 or more a year, the numbers jump to 71% of non-LGBT but still only 55% of LGBTQ. 

LGBTQ workers were also less satisfied with their workplace benefits: 34% said they were extremely or very satisfied, versus 45% of non-LGBTQ workers; that includes their retirement benefits, paid leave, and health insurance.

One area where LGBTQ workers were more satisfied than their non-LGBTQ counterparts was with their mental health benefits; in fact, when asked if they’d rather have more mental health benefits than higher wages, 23% said yes versus 17% of non-LGBTQ workers. 

When asked what their most important benefit was, both sets of workers rated health insurance at the top, with 62% of LGBTQ workers and 74% of non-LBGTQ workers; that was followed by a retirement savings plan, and then paid sick/vacation time.While both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ workers agreed that employers have a responsibility to make sure that employees are mentally healthy and emotionally well, as well as healthy and physically well, there was disagreement on how well their employers are doing in those efforts.

While only 31% LGBTQ workers said that their employer’s efforts to help their financial well-being were excellent or very good, and 37% of non-LGBTQ said the same, and the gaps were even bigger when it came to how they rated those efforts for emotional well-being/mental health, and physical well-being/health.LGBTQ workers were far less trustful than non-LGBTQ workers in institutions that provide various employee benefits.

As for what accounts for these gaps, there are a few things that may explain it.

Part of the dissatisfaction from LGBTQ workers about their benefits may simply come from the fact they were less likely to have them than non-LGBTQ workers; a smaller percentage of LGBTQ workers reported having health insurance, a health savings account, a traditional pension plan, a retirement savings plan, a health wellness program, long-term and short-term disability insurance, long-term-care insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, supplemental health insurance, accident insurance, and a financial wellness program. 

The report, however, puts the onus more on demographic differences; namely that LGBTQ workers are overall younger than their non-LGBTQ counterparts, with nearly half being under the age of 34: 13% are between the ages of 21 to 24, and 34% are 25 to 34. That is compared with 3% and 21% of non-LGBTQ workers, respectively. In addition, 19% of LGBTQ workers employed part time compared with 13% non-LGBTQ workers.

“Interestingly, many of the differences observed by LGBTQ status appear driven by demographic differences.  Nearly one-half of LGBTQ workers are under age 35 compared with 24% among non-LGBTQ workers. This could account for why LGBTQ workers have lower incomes and less education than non-LGBTQ workers.  It could also affect the lower marriage rates and the fact that LGBTQ workers are less likely to have dependent children,” Paul Fronstin, director, Health Benefits Research, EBRI, said in a statement.

(Image source: bhg.com)

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