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What Cities, States, And Professions Most Support LGBTQ+ Professionals?


As part of honoring Pride Month, Adzuna the job search engine, has done an interesting analysis. Reviewing almost 10 million job vacancies across cities, US states, and countries, and noting whether the company specifically welcomed LBGTQ+ applicants and advertised an inclusive culture and values, Adzuna was able to assess inclusion by city, state and country.

By analyzing the occupations referred to in job ads, Adzuna was also able to determine professions that most often encouraged LBGTQ+ applicants.

Job ads, of course, are only one measure of inclusion, and makes sense to be skeptical of this measure taken alone. It is, after all, only one small slice of how companies invest or not in an inclusive workplace. But it is an interesting one.

Let’s start to unpack the data with a definition of the inclusive workplace. Gallup describes an inclusive work culture this way:

“Inclusiveness is a strategy for using each person’s unique strengths to increase individual contribution, team collaboration and customer value.

“Employees who feel accepted and respected apply their best selves to their work.

“In an inclusive culture:

1.   Everyone treats everyone else with respect.

2.   Managers appreciate the unique characteristics of everyone on their teams.

3.   Leaders do what’s right.”

There’s no doubt that a workplace valuing individual differences is helpful.  Deloitte researchers and others consistently find a relationship between inclusion and engagement: people who feel excluded tend also to be disengaged, and disengaged people tend to put less into the job than the minimum required, and leave more readily for better environments. By contrast, people who feel included are more likely to be engaged and give much more than the minimum.

With that backdrop in place, here are some of most interesting findings from my perspective:

  • Seattle is the most inclusive big US city. Over 70% percent of job ads in Seattle are inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community, and actively promote diversity in the workplace regardless of sexual orientation. This makes the city significantly more inclusive than Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco and New York City. Seattle has the third largest LGBTQ+ community in the US, after San Francisco and Boston. 
  • Germany’s Cologne and Berlin top the big cities that support inclusivity. Although Seattle is first among cities in the US, internationally, it lags Germany’s Cologne (87%) and Berlin (81%). Of the top twenty most inclusive cities according to this report, the US contributed the most with five: Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and New York. Next was the UK with four: London, Newcastle, Brighton, and Manchester. 
  • Washington is the Most LGBTQ+ Friendly State; Oklahoma is Least Inclusive. Washington tops the list as the most inclusive state with 51% of job ads actively promoting LGBTQ+ diversity in the workplace. Following Washington in the top five are Rhode Island, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The bottom five states: Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Maine, and South Dakota.
  • Germany is the most LGBTQ+ friendly country by a considerable margin. More than 85% of ads support inclusivity. Well down in percentage after that are New Zealand, Australia, US and UK. It is worth pointing out that after Germany, percentages are increasingly dismal. The UK, fifth among countries, encourages LGBTQ+ candidates in only 5% of ads, a very substantial drop from the German lead. In the US, approximately 27% are explicitly inclusive, or about a quarter of ads.
  • Tech is the most inclusive sector in the US. The Adzuna research also shows that Tech organizations were the most inclusive in the US. Science and QA produced the highest levels of encouragement, with 50% of job ads actively promoting diversity in the workplace. IT, Engineering, Accounting and Finance, and Logistics and Warehouse rounded out the top five. This is helped by the high proportion of tech vacancies in the San Francisco area, an area with a well-established LGBTQ+ community. Engineering also ranks highly with 42% of job ads promoting inclusivity.

While the US was among the leaders in this measure of inclusivity, Andrew Hunter, CEO of Adzuna, pointed out: 

“It’s great to see sectors like tech leading the charge in encouraging LGBTQ+ job applicants. Some may think of these industries as fairly homogenous, so it’s really important that they’re making efforts to improve diversity. However, here in the US, with only 27% advocating for LGBTQ+ employment, we clearly have a long way to go.”

Consistent with Hunter’s comments, Pew Research, reminds us that despite significant progress, there remains a large and important global divide respecting attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ population: 

“The 2019 survey shows that while majorities in 16 of the 34 countries surveyed say homosexuality should be accepted by society, global divides remain. Whereas 94% of those surveyed in Sweden say homosexuality should be accepted, only 7% of people in Nigeria say the same. Across the 34 countries surveyed, a median of 52% agree that homosexuality should be accepted with 38% saying that it should be discouraged.”

What does this mean for freelancers and the freelance revolution? Li Jin, a respected VC, wisely reminds us that in the creator economy, freelancers see their individuality as features, not limitations. It’s a phrase worth some reflection, and nails what older generations don’t get about GenZs.  As companies continue to adopt a work architecture of blended, flexible, workforce, this matters. The blended, flexible workforce increases company flexibility and access to essential expertise on demand, but it also increases the company’s dependence on attracting and retaining freelancers working on a project basis.  Company encouragement of inclusivity is just as important to freelancers as to full-time employees.

Viva la revolution!



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