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Starbucks, IBM, PayPal, BP and eBay exhibit at China’s second LGBT job fair

Starbucks, IBM, PayPal, BP and eBay exhibit at China’s second LGBT job fair

The second China LGBT Job Fair in Shanghai

China played host to its second LGBT Talent Job Fair in Shanghai on the weekend – attracting twice as many exhibitors as its inaugural 2015 event.

Organized by local LGBT advocacy group, WorkForLGBT, with the support of Kanzhun/BOSS, the fair took place at the Langham Xintiandi Shanghai Hotel on Sunday. It featured 34 exhibitors – up from 17 at the 2015 event.

Among the employees attending the fair were Starbucks, Nielsen, L’Oreal, McKinsey, EY, Hyatt Hotels, PayPal, PwC, Electronic Arts, BP, Hogan Lovells, eBay, Ogilvy, IBM and Chinese companies Blued and car-hailing app Didi Chuxing. Around 500 people attended the fair.

The event was preceded earlier in the day by WorkForLGBT’s third, annual LGBT Corporate Diversity & Inclusion Conference, which featured HR speakers from GAP, Ford, Publicis, and BOSS, among others.

‘All 34 companies who registered for our job fair this year pledged their support for inclusive policies for LBGT employees, including prohibiting LGBT workplace discrimination,’ said Steven Paul Bielinski, Founder of WorkForLGBT, in a statement.

‘This is an enormous step forward for the business community in China as they increasingly realize the importance of LGBT talent.’

Despite being one of the world’s biggest economies, China lags behind much of Europe and the US when it comes to embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace – particularly in relation to LGBT rights.

Although multi-national companies are increasingly highlighting the business benefits of encouraging staff to be themselves, a survey undertaken by WorkForLGBT last year found that only 2% of respondents in State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the region had disclosed their sexuality at work.

This is despite the fact that another WorkForLGBT survey last year found that 70% believed workplaces should welcome all, regardless of sexual orientation.

Bielinski told Gay Star Business that he was encouraged by the fact that this year’s event attracted more interest from Chinese companies.

‘This year four Chinese companies stepped forward for the first time to participate in our China LGBT Talent Job Fair and support LGBT employees. WorkForLGBT has been in communication with dozens more, and are confident that next year even more local brands and businesses will participate.’

He said that following the success of last year’s event, highlights of the weekend’s Shanghai gathering were that few could have been left in any doubt about its purpose – and that some of this year’s exhibitors had been recruited at last year’s event.

‘Companies attending our job fair this year were even more visibly supportive than the first, with many booth representatives wearing rainbow themed clothes, giving away rainbow flags to job seekers, setting up rainbow company displays, and highlighting programs and policies in China focused on gay employees like their local LGBT employee resource groups.

‘IBM even had two LGBT employees hired last year at our 1st Annual China LGBT Talent Job Fair working their booth.’