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Bullying of LGBT Employees in Tech Industry: a Cost of Billions

Bill Proudman, Co-founder of WMFDP, discusses the LGBT community and the discrimination they face in the tech industry.

Discrimination in any form is unacceptable, and the LGBT community is a vital segment of the workforce.

An April, 2017, study conducted by Oakland non-profit Kapor Center for Social Impact, the Tech Leavers Study—the first of its kind—has taken a detailed look at discrimination in the tech industry, citing an annual loss in the sector of about $16 billion.(1)

The study conducted a national survey of over 2,000 adults who left a job in a technology-related industry or function within the last three years. Nearly 40 percent of those who left cited unfairness and mistreatment as their primary reasons for leaving. With an average cost of replacing a professional tech employee at $144,000 due to lost productivity, recruiting, salary, etc., a large tech company with 10,000 engineers would lose approximately $27 million per year by allowing a culture of discrimination to persist.

“An earlier detailed study reported that America’s corporate losses from bias and discrimination added up to $64 billion.(2) This new study’s conclusion of $16 billion in losses for tech does correlate with that,” remarked Bill Proudman, co-founder of Portland, Oregon-based diversity and inclusion consultancy firm White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP).

While bias and unfair treatment in tech is becoming more and more high-profile—thanks in large part to breaking news stories regarding toxic work environments at Uber and other tech companies(3)—what has not been as well-documented is the treatment of tech’s LGBT employees, who have experienced the most bullying in comparison to their peers, the study reports….

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