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People more comfortable discussing immigration than LGBT rights in the office

Lily Wakefield July 31, 2019

People are becoming more comfortable discussing politics at work. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

People in the UK are more comfortable discussing immigration issues with their co-workers than they are discussing LGBT+ rights, according to a survey by the hiring platform Jobsite.

In the current divisive climate, discussion of national and international politics in workplaces is on the rise, with half of the 2,000 UK employees surveyed this month noticing a recent increase.

30 percent said they spoke to colleagues about politics at least once a week, and 16 percent said they discussed it once a day or more.

The topics around which respondents thought discussion had increased the most were Brexit (46 percent) and Donald Trump (36 percent).

The study found that people were more comfortable talking about certain political issues over others in the office.

62 percent of employees said they felt at ease discussing immigration, compared to just 54 percent who felt comfortable discussing LGBT+ rights.

The study suggests: “This could be because colleagues don’t know as much about each other’s private lives and the risk of unintended offence is too high.”

Politics at work
30 percent said they spoke to colleagues about politics at least once a week, and 16 percent said they discussed it once a day or more. (RawPixel)

Women are more likely to withhold their political opinions than men

Self-censorship of political views varied across party affiliation and gender.

22 percent of women said they could not freely express their opinions at work, compared with 16 percent of men.

Labour supporters felt least uncomfortable (18 percent) discussing LGBT+ rights and Green Party supporters felt most uncomfortable (39 percent) with the topic.

The study also had 1,000 American participants, to compare US and UK opinions on talking about politics at work.

UK workers were much more comfortable with it, 24 percent saying it was inappropriate to discuss politics in the workplace, compared with 45 percent of US employees.

28 percent of Americans thought talking about politics at work should be banned altogether.

Among UK workers, the number one topic of discussion was the weather, with politics coming in sixth.

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