Towards making an invisible diversity visible: A study of socially structured barriers for purple collar employees in the workplace

Zia Ullah, Esra Aldhaen, Rana Tahir Naveed, Naveed Ahmad, Miklas Scholz, Tasawar Abdul Hamid, Heesup Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Eunuchs and members of the transgender community are yet to be recognized as an effective human resource and this diversity in the workforce is still invisible. A tiny portion of the transgender community is employed, and they are tagged as purple collar employees. It is generally claimed that coworkers do not accept members of the transgender community in the workplace and are not willing to work with them due to their different personal, social, and work-related characteristics. This study aimed to investigate coworkers’ attitudes towards transgender colleagues and their willingness to work with them in the workplace. We selected the Punjab province of Pakistan as the context for the study where more than five hundred thousand members of the transgender community live. We collected data from 363 randomly selected respondents working in an organization where transgender people also worked. We applied Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to analyze the data. Our findings revealed that coworkers do not hesitate to work with transgender people merely based on their biological differences. Coworkers’ willingness was more influenced by social attributes (trust and support) and work attributes (knowledge, ability, and motivation) irrespective of gender differences. The study strongly suggests tapping this invisible human resource and mainstreaming this resource to emancipate transgender people from poverty and to bring a productive diversity in the workforce. Government should frame policies to provide all human rights including national identity, health and educational facilities, and organizations should provide transgender people with jobs to properly utilize this untapped human resource.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9322
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2021


  • Invisible diversity
  • Personal attributes
  • Social attributes
  • Transgender
  • Work attributes
  • Workplace barriers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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