Out Leadership, the premier global network for LGBTQ+ business leaders and companies, provides the most extensive research into allyship in the U.S. and globally, with our groundbreaking report “AllyUp: Ally is a Verb,” and our accompanying reports “AllyUp: Europe,” “AllyUp: Asia,” and “AllyUp: Australia.”
This first-of-its-kind research study was completed over 18 months in collaboration with Out Leadership member firm FCB with support from Ernst & Young LLP (EY).
Historically, allyship has referred to the ways that non-marginalized communities stood up for and supported the needs and voices of those at the margins. The learnings this research illuminated is true across all of the conversations around racism, nationalism, xenophobia and more: Allyship is authentic when it is centered on education, action and amplifying the needs and voices of the community it seeks to support. Today, allyship is more important and relevant than ever.
Out Leadership Founder and CEO Todd Sears said, “Allyship must be a verb. Our research shows us that the gap exists between intention and action, and at Out Leadership we hope that by measuring the gap, we can collectively work to address it.”
“I hope the findings of AllyUp motivate companies to actively engage their LGBTQ+ allies,” said Rich Jeanneret, Vice Chair, East Region Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP and Out Leadership Global Advisory Board member. “At EY, we believe diversity and inclusiveness are everyone’s responsibility. Allyship should create environments where people feel not just supported, but like they truly belong and can flourish with pride.”
“I am incredibly proud of the first-of-its-kind research we’ve conducted in partnership with Out Leadership,” said Vita Harris, FCB Chief Strategy Officer. “Now, more than ever, it is important to not only call attention to inconsistencies in allyship, but also to pay it forward by giving allies what they need to support marginalized communities and actively engage them in the fight for equality. AllyUp will be this tool.”
AllyUp uncovers the impact of allyship on the experience of LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace and unpacks the inconsistency between identification and action. Drawing on the responses of more than 5,000 survey participants, AllyUp reveals a profound gap between stated allyship and resulting action.
Key findings include:
- While 83% of employees support workplace and state protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, only 56% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents identify as allies.
- Further, only 45% of self-identified allies actively protect their LGBTQ+ colleagues from harassment in the workplace.
- 47% have experienced microaggressions at work and as a result 70% engage in covering behaviors.
Though a majority of those surveyed identified as allies, 66% of LGBTQ+ employees say that they cover their identity at least some of the time or in front of some coworkers or clients.
- Allies are an important and influential component and our previous research finds that 78% of LGBTQ+ people and their friends, family, and relatives would switch to brands that are known to be LGBTQ+ friendly.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Out Leadership and FCB Global conducted additional surveys and analysis to understand the impact of work from home on both allyship and the LGBTQ+ population.
Key post-COVID-19 findings include:
- 93% of those surveyed believe their companies will return to work as committed or more committed to equality in the workplace.
- However, allies’ perception of their companies’ inclusiveness differs from that of their LGBTQ+ colleagues: straight allies view their companies as more inclusive by over 10% compared to their LGBTQ+ identified counterparts.
- This suggests that LGBTQ+ colleagues are not experiencing the safety and inclusion that their straight ally colleagues perceive.