Almost a year after the landmark Supreme Court judgement decriminalising homosexuality, India is set to get its first dedicated hiring consultancy firm for the members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community.
At present, even after the change in law, members of India's LGBTIQ community lag behind their western counterparts in attaining equal pay, corporate representation and other benefits.
Accordingly, the Bengaluru-based Diversity & Inclusion firm -- Pride Circle -- plans to shatter some of these stereotypes via a dedicated wing which will look at the job consultancy market for the LGBTIQ candidates.
"There is a lot of systemic bias and roadblock for LGBTI job seekers, these become even more challenging for visibly LGBTI individuals," Pride Circle's Co-Founder Ramkrishna Sinha told IANS.
"Our goal is to work with companies to eliminate such conscious or unconscious biases in the recruitment process and also work with candidates to enable them for facing interviews. A lot of LGBTI candidates face issues of self-esteem, due to the series of discrimination they have faced."
Not just unemployment of LGBTIQ candidates, even the lack of sensitisation and unfriendly policies towards businesses that cater to this internationally significant segment of consumers has led to an estimated loss of around $30 billion to India's GDP as per a World Bank report.
The 2014 World Bank report -- Economic Cost of Homophobia and the exclusion of LGBTIQ people: A case of India -- estimated the country to have lost 0.1-1.7 percent of the GDP due to homophobia.
"Companies have been hesitant in engaging and at times are unaware of the method to that engagement. The siloes leads to stereotypes and misinformation on both ends, leading to a growing chasm, our aim to build platforms of engagement for the community and corporation to meet," Sinha said.
"We are encouraging corporations to have avenues of dialogue, look at opportunities to engage besides a full-time job, and these could be fellowship, internship, skill-building programs etc."
Globally, this segment known generically as -- Pink Dollar Economy -- has become a financially significant sub-section of the consumer market for various industries like travel, insurance and even white goods.
Recently, the firm organised India's first LGBTIQ job fair -- RISE (Reimagining Inclusion for Social Equity) -- in Bengaluru. Over 40 companies participated in the event including the likes of Uber and Intel.
Besides, the job fair saw a participation of more than 300 LGBTIQ candidates for various sectors in IT, banking and administration.
"We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBTI talent pool," Sinha said.
"The companies which participated in the job fair were delighted by the candidates they met, five candidates already got confirmed job offers from the fair."
Additionally, the firm aims to organise the job fair in 10 cities over the next 18-24 months. The firm is hopeful to place at least 1,000 LGBTIQ candidates within a year.