Press release
06 Sep 2023  | London, GB

EY survey finds global workers feel sense of belonging at their workplaces, yet most are uncomfortable sharing all aspec

Press contact

  • 75% of respondents have felt excluded at work; checking in with colleagues remains paramount
  • For organizations that enable flexibility, respondents feel a boosted sense of belonging within the workplace
  • 63% of respondents across generations currently prioritize Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness (DE&I) in choosing a company over one that does not, and it’s of even greater importance to Gen Z and millennial talent 

The EY organization today announces the results of the third iteration of the ‘Belonging Barometer’, revealing the perspectives of employed adults from various industries and organizations across the globe. In a post-COVID-19 world of evolving workplace flexibility styles and ongoing heightened economic uncertainty, adaptation to workforce shifts and continuing headwinds, a belonging disconnect is emerging in the workplace.

According to the EY Belonging Barometer 3.0, almost half (41%) of respondent workers at companies across the globe say that their workplace is where they feel the greatest sense of belonging, second to home, and yet, 75% report having felt excluded at work. It also finds that despite a backdrop of overall positive feelings of belonging within workplaces, over half of global worker respondents (56%) feel that they can’t share, or are reluctant to share, dimensions of their identity while at work for fear of it holding them back. This number is even higher for LGBTQ+ worker respondents, with 77% feeling uncomfortable sharing dimensions of their identity at work.

To effectively combat workplace feelings of exclusion, checking in on how someone is doing, both at work and in their personal life, remains a top contributor to building a sense of belonging for 32% of respondent workers. This holds true for 39% of US respondents, consistent with the previous 2018 (38%) and 2020 (37%) Belonging Barometers.

Karyn Twaronite, EY Global Vice Chair – Diversity, Equity & Inclusiveness, says:

“While it's encouraging that workers continue to feel an increased sense of belonging at work, it's clear that a disconnect has emerged with many workers globally, of all diversity dimensions, feeling excluded, actively self-editing or hiding certain dimensions of who they are at work.”

“For leaders looking to bridge this gap to maximize engagement, wellbeing and productivity, and better enable their employees to feel free to be themselves, one-on-one check ins still matter most.”

Enabling flexibility increases workers’ sense of belonging

Although today’s work environment has posed many challenges, it is clear that greater flexibility has contributed to workers’ sense of belonging. In fact, of workers who have noted an impact on their sense of belonging from hybrid work, ongoing disruption, or economic volatility, the top two responses show that they feel an increased sense of belonging because their organization has become more flexible, and because they have been encouraged to be open about their opinions, needs, preferences, and personality.

Furthermore, 45% of respondents shared that flexible working, including autonomy in choosing hours and location, was their top motivator for instilling DE&I within their own teams. This underscores the importance for those in leadership positions to continue to integrate and offer flexible practices in today’s workplace.

Equitable pay may be the fastest route to addressing inequity; confidence in upward mobility may be wavering

An overwhelming majority of respondents acknowledge some level of inequity within their workplace; merely 6% say they have felt none. Equitable pay is cited by 40% as the top contributor to a sense of equity at work, followed by equitable performance evaluation (34%) and equitable work assignments (30%).

Workers also do not feel fully confident that their companies afford opportunities for career progression. Sixty-six percent of workers feel that there are barriers to advancement within their company, with a lack of the right resources (24%) reported as the most common obstacle, followed by lack of fair wage/salary (23%) and unequal access to opportunities (21%).

The future talent pool depends on companies prioritizing DE&I

DE&I initiatives continue to play a pivotal role in recruiting and attracting top talent. 63% of worker respondents would choose a company that prioritizes DE&I over one that does not, 74% say their company’s prioritization of DE&I factors into their choice of where to work.

This theme is most pronounced among Gen Z and millennials, of whom 73% and 68% respectively, said they would choose a company that prioritizes DE&I over one that does not, versus 53% of Gen X and 46% of baby boomers.

Twaronite says:

“Amidst today’s political and economic backdrop, DE&I remains a key workplace expectation across all generations and a competitive advantage, and at the same time, DE&I remains imperative for companies like ours to consistently build into their long-term growth strategy.”


The EY study includes a combined sample size of more than 5,000 globally employed adults (18–64 years of age) in the following countries: US, UK, Germany, Singapore and India. The survey was conducted in May 2023. Generations are generally defined as: Gen Z (age 18–26), Millennials (age 27–42), Gen X (age 43–58) and baby boomers (age 59–64). The study was conducted and analyzed by Big Village (formerly ENGINE), a consultative research collaborator, along with Prosek Partners.

About EY

EY exists to build a better working world, helping to create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets.

Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate.

Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

Related news

    Related news

    EY survey finds global workers feel sense of belonging at their workplaces, yet most are uncomfortable shar

    LONDON, September 6, 2023. The EY organization today announces the results of the third iteration of the ‘Belonging Barometer’, revealing the perspectives of employed adults from various industries and organizations across the globe.

    Growing gap in Asia-Pacific between employees’ needs and experiences – EY report

    Hong Kong, 5 December 2022. Trust, respect and a connection to others through similar or shared interests, skills and challenges define the feeling of belonging, and they are a fundamental part of what makes us human.

    Emily Liao from Australia named EY NextGen Women 2022 competition winner

    LONDON, 24 November 2022. Emily Liao from Australia has been announced as the winner of the annual EY NextGen Women in Strategy and Transactions competition.