Cham­pi­oning equal­ity in the work­place

An in­creas­ing num­ber of for­eign and do­mes­tic com­pa­nies in China are be­com­ing more in­clu­sive places for LGBT peo­ple as em­ploy­ers be­gin to re­al­ize the im­por­tance of re­tain­ing tal­ent, re­gard­less of their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG ZHENGHUA in Shang­hai wangzhenghua@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion against les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual or trans­gen­der peo­ple can be preva­lent in some parts of China, but ad­vo­cates and busi­ness lead­ers say that those in big cities and cer­tain in­dus­tries are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ac­cept­ing of these in­di­vid­u­als.

“The work en­vi­ron­ment for LGBT em­ploy­ees is slowly im­prov­ing in first-tier cities, though the over­all sit­u­a­tion is still one of over­whelm­ing stigma and si­lence for tens of mil­lions of LGBT work­ers in China,” said Steven Paul Bielin­ski, an Amer­i­can ex­pat in Shang­hai who founded the non­profit busi­ness net­work called WorkForLGBT.

Bielin­ski is also the or­ga­nizer of the An­nual China LGBT Tal­ent Job Fair, which was held in Shang­hai at the end of May. The event this year at­tracted 34 com­pa­nies — dou­ble the num­ber of last year’s fair — and more than 500 job seek­ers.

Among the com­pa­nies were a num­ber of big names from the United States, in­clud­ing Star­bucks, Edel­man, Ford, PwC, 3M, Gap, Citi and Mor­gan Stan­ley. There were also large multi­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions from other coun­tries as well as a hand­ful of Chi­nese com­pa­nies.

“All 34 com­pa­nies that reg­is­tered for our job fair this year pledged their sup­port for in­clu­sive poli­cies for LGBT em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing pro­hibit­ing LGBT work­place dis­crim­i­na­tion,” said Bielin­ski.

Ex­perts said that an in­creas­ing num­ber of in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal firms have re­al­ized that at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing LGBT peo­ple in their com­pa­nies can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween fail­ure and suc­cess given today’s highly com­pet­i­tive la­bor and tal­ent mar­ket.

In China’s first-tier cities, namely Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Shen­zhen and Guangzhou, hu­man re­source de­part­ments and busi­ness lead­ers have started to re­al­ize that when they serve the in­ter­ests of their LGBT em­ploy­ees, they are at the same time ad­vanc­ing the busi­ness in­ter­ests of the com­pany.

Edel­man China, a pub­lic re­la­tions com­pany that has head­quar­ters in New York and Chicago, was one of the par­tic­i­pants at this year’s job fair, of­fer­ing jobs from in­tern­ship po­si­tions to se­nior man­age­ment roles in brand plan­ning, cre­ative roles as well as dig­i­tal and so­cial me­dia man­age­ment. It re­ceived about 40 re­sumes at the end of the fair.

“We have an initiative called Edel­man Equal, aimed at in­cor­po­rat­ing in­clu­sive­ness, equal­ity and di­ver­sity in the com­pany. As a com­pany in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions and cre­ativ­ity sec­tor, we hope our em­ploy­ees could be their true selves in­stead of be­ing framed by all kinds of stereo­types. In that

Work­place cultures should wel­come all em­ploy­ees, re­gard­less of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion

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