From LGBT+ rights to gender in the workplace: LinkedIn's diversity trends revealed

Analysis reveals the key themes attracting engagement around diversity.

Cook: among LGBT+ business leaders featured in popular LinkedIn content
Cook: among LGBT+ business leaders featured in popular LinkedIn content

Diversity within business strategy is increasingly being scrutinised, according to exclusive new LinkedIn research for Campaign that shows exactly what content users are engaging with to help shape their views.

LinkedIn has taken a detailed look at engagement with diversity-related content on the platform over a six-month period from 1 October 2018 to 1 March 2019. 

The brand-building and business case for diversity

LinkedIn found that diversity is an important topic for businesses seeking funding, for professionals advising on brand-building and for those charged with finding new sources of growth.

Senior business figures – including partners, directors, vice-presidents and C-suite executives – are most likely to engage with diversity content. Partners, LinkedIn found, are 4.5 times more likely to engage with diversity content than the average LinkedIn member.

Gender diversity and business productivity stories dominate

LinkedIn found that, of all the diversity topics, gender dominated the conversation both with the greatest number of posts and the highest level of average engagement.

Top posts included research from Accenture on equality in the workplace and a study into the relationship between gender diversity and business productivity.

Content about inspirational female leaders was found to be particularly popular, making up 12% of the top 50 most engaged-with posts.

On LGBT+ rights, individual stories and experiences – including about role models such as Beth Ford, the first openly gay woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, and Apple chief executive Tim Cook – proved most engaging.

However, posts about the difficulties of challenging discrimination in the workplace and the potential downsides of coming out at work were equally prominent, LinkedIn added.

Ethnic diversity: workplace discrimination a key topic

When it comes to content related to ethnic diversity, revelations about discrimination in recruitment and the workplace were most engaged with, the study found.

One of the most popular pieces of content was research that claimed applicants from minority-ethnic backgrounds in the UK had to send 80% more applications on average to get a positive response from an employer.

Positive posts, including individual stories of people overcoming discrimination, also drove significant engagement. For example, an article about tech investor and actress Priyanka Chopra and about the rise of tennis star Naomi Osaka were popular.

Age and cognitive diversity: the importance of being inclusive

Awareness of the business benefits of cognitive diversity has accelerated rapidly in recent years – and LinkedIn found that the posts most engaged with on these topics had a positive tone. The most popular content focused on raising awareness of the value that a broad spectrum of talent can bring to the workplace, including those with autism, ADHD and dyslexia.

When it comes to ageism, a recent Campaign survey found that 42% of advertising, marketing, media and PR employees have witnessed ageism towards a colleague and 32% have experienced ageism themselves. Industry interest in the topic was reflected on LinkedIn.

The platform found that content from the advertising and technology sectors that raised awareness of the dangers of sidelining older workers made up five of the top 20 posts on the topic.

The most popular piece of content was Chip Conley’s TED talk on the benefits of mixing different generations.


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