Employers have sought to determine the number of their employees who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer while balancing privacy concerns. Some employers use LGBTQ employee group membership numbers to generate estimates, but this method is limited by the scope of such voluntary groups over a highly dispersed workforce.
More recently, employers have gathered statistics through anonymous employee engagement or satisfaction surveys, which can include upward of 100 questions, and through confidential and secure employee records.
In both cases, whether an employee discloses their gender identity or sexual orientation is optional and voluntary and any reporting or direct access to the data is designed to ensure confidentiality of the employee.
Employee engagement surveys can include optional questions that allow LGBTQ employees to self-identify based on gender identity or sexual orientation. This is almost always done anonymously to ensure employee privacy, but LGBTQ employees may nonetheless remain fearful of the repercussions of disclosure.
In the HRC Corporate Equality Index 2020 survey, 54 percent allow employees to voluntarily disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity on anonymous surveys or confidential Human Resource records, compared with 35 percent in the 2012 survey and just 17 percent in the 2006 survey.