How To Find an LGBTQIA+ Friendly Workplace
By Jennifer Herrity
Updated June 8, 2022 | Published July 13, 2020
Updated June 8, 2022
Published July 13, 2020
Jennifer Herrity is a career coach at Indeed and has worked with job seekers from various industries over the last 10 years. She creates content to help people navigate their career challenges with tools and techniques she has shaped through practical experience.
Related: Job Cast: LGBTQIA+ Job Search Advice: Pride at Work
In this virtual workshop, we share tips on how to find and land a job in an inclusive workplace where you can thrive.
Highly successful workplaces are often ones that represent their community well—made up of individuals from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds belonging to different intersectional groups including, but not limited to, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Finding a job with an employer that allows you to bring your authentic self to work, and is therefore supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community, can be important whether you identify as LGBTQIA+ or simply want to work for a company that prioritizes equality in their workplace culture.
In this article, we sat down with career coach Amira Sounny-Slitine from Happy Onion Coaching Collaborative to learn steps you can take to find LGBTQIA+-friendly companies.
Why is it important to find an LGBTQIA+ friendly workplace?
In the U.S, 4.5% of the population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender with an estimated 11 million LGBTIA+ people in the workforce. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 686 businesses earned a 100 percent rating on their annual Corporate Equality Index in 2020—a report that can be used as a tool to rate American companies’ adoption of LGBTQIA+-inclusive policies, practices and benefits. This number has grown since last year, but there is still improvement to be made.
Tips for finding an LGBTQIA+ friendly workplace
If you’re one of the 67% of active or passive job seekers that consider workforce diversity an important factor when evaluating a company, here are some things to look out for to determine if a company is welcoming and inclusive.
Representation of diverse groups on a company website
During your job search, it is important to spend time researching companies you’re interested in working for. One important way to do so is by exploring the company website, identifying information on its values and mission. As you’re doing this research, take note of the images of people being represented. A varied representation of gender and ethnicity can be an indication that a company cares about diversity in its workforce. Look for these images on the company homepage, “Careers” and the “About Us” sections of their website.
It’s common to find public displays of support in June during Pride month but look for employers who celebrate their LGBTQIA+ employees year-round. Find employers specifically highlighting their commitment to inclusion and diversity on their website in the form of written statements or including “Diversity” or “Inclusion” sections where they clearly state their commitment to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. Companies with good examples of this are Indeed and Apple. Their websites include commitments to inclusion and diversity and provide transparent data regarding their efforts.
Related: What is Work Culture?
Company participation in national and state Pride events
Look for companies that are active participants in community events like Pride, which is a month-long celebration of love, acceptance and self-pride founded in the LGBTQIA+ community. Employers and organizations can sponsor different events during Pride month and/or participate in the parade. Sounny-Slitine says, “Employers donate money to be a sponsor and most pay to participate in the parade as well. This provides some insight on which employers/organizations are financially supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride.”
If you are attending a Pride parade, look for companies with employees walking to support the LGBTQIA+ population. Having a large representation is great, but numbers don’t mean everything. The value is in the public demonstration of support for the community. Start-ups and local businesses might have a smaller representation, but it could be 100% of their staff.
Social media posts during Pride month
June was chosen for LGBTQIA+ Pride Month to commemorate the riots held by members of the LGBTQIA+ community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. During this month, Sounny-Slitine says exploring social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram is a good way to see which companies are making public claims of support for the LGBTQIA+ community: “Look at the employer's social media presence and search for inclusive images and posts—especially in regards to Pride and being proud supporters of their LGBTQ employees.”* You might also search for your city or state’s Pride organization to find a list of company sponsors. You can also browse social media platforms for city and state-run accounts with posts including hashtags like #pride, #lgbtq, #equality and #pride2020 to find relevant posts by the company.
Public Equal Employment Opportunity policy
According to Sounny-Slitine, more employers are starting to provide more inclusive health benefits, including for trans employees. “Some employers highlight their health benefits on their website, but you could also call the HR department and ask about specific benefits for trans employees. If you do contact the employer, consider having a friend call for you or provide the employer with a nickname if you wish to not disclose your identity during the hiring process.”
Check if the company is one of the over 260 U.S. employers that support the Equality Act. The Equality Act is federal legislation that would provide the same basic protections to LGBTQIA+ people as are provided to other protected groups under federal law. Coalition member companies represent nearly every industry and have operations in all 50 states.
Asking about diversity and inclusion in informational interviews
Conducting an informational interview during your job search is a great way to learn about the culture of a company from current or former employees. Sounny-Slitine suggests using the interview to ask questions such as the following: “Inclusion and diversity is important to me. Can you give me some insight into how the company ensures that it recruits candidates from diverse backgrounds?” or “Inclusion and diversity are really important to me. Does your company have any pride groups or resources for LGBTQIA+ employees?”
If having a supportive employer in this way is important to you, asking diversity- and inclusion-focused questions in an informational interview is a smart way to gain insight into how the company supports employees and opens up the conversation to a more meaningful discussion than questions like “What do you do on a daily basis?”
Additional questions you can ask to determine how a company views diversity and inclusion are:
What are the most important values of your company?
How do you promote Diversity and Inclusion?
Does the company provide Diversity and Inclusion training such as Unconscious Bias?
An inclusive environment is valuable to me, how do you promote inclusivity amongst your teams?
Do you have any employee resource groups?
Best LGBTQIA+-friendly places to work by industry
The Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index is a great place to start to find a list of employers that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, provide equivalent same-and-different-sex medical and soft benefits, provide LGBTQIA+ internal training and best practices and make efforts of outreach or engagement in the broader LGBTQIA+ community.
Here is a shortlist of companies in common industries with CEI ratings of 100%—refer to the CEI report for the full list of companies:
Advertising and Marketing
Aerospace and Defense
Apparel, Fashion and Textiles
Banking and Financial Services
Consulting and Business Services
Entertainment and Electronic Media
Food, Beverage and Groceries
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