Everything you need to know about being Queer in Recruitment!
Advice for employers
Guest blog contribution by: Taylor Lane, Recruitment Consultant - IT & Cyber Security at Insignis.
So, you’re Queer, interested in making a career for yourself in Recruitment but you’re worried that it will be an old school boy’s club?
I am Queer, to be more specific I am a Cis Gay Man, I came out back in 2013 and my immediate experience of being Queer has been one punctuated by fear of how others would perceive me, treat me differently or even hurl venomous comments at me. Over the years I have developed a thicker skin, as most Queer people do. This has allowed me to walk with my head held high which has, over time given way to indifference to the thoughts of others regarding my sexuality.
I believe most of, if not all Queer people and those close to them fear that they will be the subject of discrimination in the workplace, in public or online. It is a fear I still have when entering a new workplace, public places, and large events. I will avoid addressing sexuality and gender until I have had an opportunity to get a feel for the environment and culture.
I sought out a career in recruitment after beginning my master’s and hearing from a family member about their career in recruitment, the ups and downs and ultimately the reasons why they had decided to stick with it through the challenging times.
I began my new adventure in July of 2021, working at STR Group on the IT team. From the start I was fortunate enough to feel support from all angles, our management team, my colleagues and even among the senior leadership.
From day one and my initial introductions to my new colleagues and fellow graduates, I felt as though this was an environment I could be myself in. The company has a wide variety of characters from diverse backgrounds, all of whom are welcoming and excited to have fresh team members joining them.
Many months later that environment and general atmosphere of acceptance has only grown, as I have shown more of my humanity to them as they have to me. That isn’t to say there haven’t been questions from well-intentioned and sheltered colleagues, the kinds of questions about being Queer that every straight person has always wondered but never quite felt comfortable enough to ask and in a lot of ways, I feel privileged to be trusted and work in such an open environment that people feel comfortable broaching such topics.
What else is there we can do to make sure my fellow Queers feel comfortable in Recruitment across the industry?
Despite my experience within Recruitment being incredibly positive, as a Queer person I always have one eye on the environment and how accepting it might be for other members of Queer society who are not as widely accepted or accommodated.
This is an area I feel most, if not all industries, have a long way to go in creating space for other Queer people, particularly those of us who identify as transgender, non-binary or intersex. The world is a far more inviting space for those of us who can pass as Straight or Cis, for those of who cannot so easily fly under the radar, the world is a far less friendly place.
One of the small but meaningful changes that we can make would be the implementation of gender neutral and disability accessible toilets, these are easy changes to implement and can make the workplace massively more inviting to people of all gender identities and differently abled.
This pro-active change would be a fantastic way to make our working environments more accessible to all members of our wider society with truly little investment as well as effectively meaning that we all have access to twice as many toilets than we do currently. Really, it is a no-brainer and as easy to implement in some cases as replacing gendered signs for the word toilet.
As you’ll have read throughout this blog, my experience working in recruitment as a Queer person has been incredibly positive and from a cultural perspective, I think that we are in a particularly good place when it comes to the acceptance of people of different sexualities. When it comes to Queer people with different gender identities, which diverge from the rigid Gender Binary, we still have much to do to make our workplaces as accepting as possible.
Infrastructure must come first; we have to lay the groundwork with gender neutral toilets and the placement of sanitary product bins in all bathrooms before our Trans and Non-Binary siblings can feel truly welcome in our offices.
There are some charitable entities I would Like to draw attention to, both do amazing work within the Queer Community and deserve all the support we can offer them.
Stonewall – https://www.stonewall.org.uk/
Mermaids – https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/
This is a guest blog contribution for the REC website. The views expressed by guest writers reflect the individual's personal opinions.
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