A new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, an economic research group, found Hong Kong is trailing behind other Asian countries in terms of LGBTQ+ acceptance in the workplace. According to a local human resources network, there has been a greater focus on LGBTQ+ inclusion in recent years, however, the study found that out of 52 Hong Kong based respondents, none believed their workplace had made “substantial progress” towards LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion over the last three years.
Under 20% of respondents described working with an out LGBTQ+ colleague as ‘very comfortable’, and only 10% said they would feel comfortable joining an LGBTQ+ support or allies’ network outside of work. Hong Kong was also found to be lagging behind other Asian countries in terms of workplaces openly discussing social issues and concerns, with only 25% saying their employer had ‘enacted workplace policies promoting a culture of free speech and debate’.
29% of Hong Kong employees reported their employers encouraging staff to discuss aspects of their personal or social life at work in relation to broader social issues, and the country also showed the lowest engagement in organising internal events or awareness campaigns compared to China, India, Indonesia and Taiwan.
Overall, around 50% of the total respondents, based across different countries in Asia, believed identifying as LGBTQ+ would be ‘neither a hindrance nor an advantage’ to one’s career prospects, with another 40% thinking it would be an issue. However, around half of respondents said enacting more LGBTQ+ friendly workplace policies and practices was positive, with many more believing it was becoming increasingly easier for LGBTQ+ employees to disclose their sexuality or gender identity in the workplace without fear of discrimination.