Forward-looking multinational corporations understand that they need to create inclusive work environments in order to recruit and retain top talent, and stay competitive in the global marketplace. But they face a significant hurdle to doing so globally: Many countries still host significant levels of societal discrimination against LGBT people.

Discrimination creates hugely significant negative impacts on economies. Professor Lee Badgett of UMass Amherst estimated in a study commissioned by the Williams Institute of UCLA that economic discrimination against LGBT people in India could cost the country 1.7% of their total GDP – a jaw-dropping US$30.8 billion a year.

The economic damage caused by societal animus towards LGBT people is not unique to developing economies. Last year, a study found that the United Kingdom could be losing £11.2 billion ($17 billion/€15.6 billion) in annual GDP due to the pressures and stresses lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender engineers encounter in the workplace.

When LGBT employees do not feel comfortable being themselves at work, innovation and productivity suffer. At the recent World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Kenji Yoshino and Sylvia Ann Hewlett introduced an important new study sponsored by Out Leadership and several Out Leadership member companies….

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Todd Sears is the Founder and Principal of Out Leadership, a global strategic advisory firm that connects leaders across the world’s most influential industries to create business opportunities, cultivate talent, and drive LGBT equality forward.