The Alliance Network runs events looking at work place issues in professional services. This event, hosted by Pinsent Masons, focussed on keeping graduates out of the closet. In addition to advising on the format of the evening, I spoke at the opening of the event setting the scene for the panel discussion and group discussions which followed drawing on my on research and experiences of graduates and new joiners I have worked with over the years as a director of university careers services and though the University of Birmingham mentoring scheme and advising employers.
The key issues I introduced were:
- a brief overview of research about positives of coming out at work; why so many still stay closeted, including senior managers
- despite general media coverage and protection under the law, not all students are out at university
- coming out at university is very different from work
- students from less tolerant backgrounds are more likely to stay closeted as they juggle ‘multiple identities’
- a big challenge for coming out at work is managing relationships with clients and customers, and..
- do recruitment processes assume ‘straightness’?
- do employers’ recruitment and marketing accurately represent what it’s actually like to work there.
The workshop discussion looked at how employers engage and support staff at the key stages of: