According to a new study, LGBT individuals working for the U.S. government are less satisfied with their jobs than the overall pool of federal employees.
These findings stem from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which was conducted between April and June of this year. As Federal Times reports, only 51 percent of LGBT employees reported being satisfied with their jobs. That’s compared to 57 percent for the overall federal workforce.
What’s more, only 45 percent of LGBT respondents said they have a “high level of respect” for their senior leaders. This number is particularly striking, since it’s far shy of the 52 percent for the total surveyed field.
On the question of whether they feel empowered at work, LGBT employees again indicated relative dissatisfaction. Only 38 percent said they feel empowered, while 44 percent of their straight counterparts answered in the affirmative.
While Veronica Villalobos, the director of diversity and inclusion at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), acknowledged the study’s shortcomings — a major one being that it doesn’t shed light on why LGBT workers feel the way they do — she said the government is “seeking out the roots and solutions in order solve this problem.”
OPM’s methods on this front include conducting trainings, issuing guidelines, and meeting with LGBT groups to work through issues.
These efforts may prove successful, but according to Kylar Broadus, who heads the National LGBTQ Task Force’s transgender civil rights project, it’s going to take time for changes to occur. It wasn’t until the Obama administration, Broadus says, that LGBT individuals felt they had any support within the federal government, and workers are not quick to forget the feelings of disconnection that have often characterized their relationships with senior management.
“I think there are still a lot of people who feel the negativity and that impacts their day-to-day work, and results in lower numbers,” Broadus said.