Recent research by personal finance blog OverdraftApps and The HRC (Human Rights Campaign Foundation) has revealed the most LGBTQ industries in the US and the results might surprise you. Fashion, often considered one of the most LGBTQ-friendly industries falls close to the bottom of the list while companies within the banking and personal finance sector have taken the top spot.
Just how do you determine how LGBTQ friendly a company is? HRC’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index looked at 947 companies currently employing millions of Americans and rated them on four key pillars of criteria to establish if their workplaces are fully LGBTQ inclusive:
- Company non-discrimination policies
- Fair benefits for LGBTQ employees and their families
- Company internal education and accountability to promote LGBTQ inclusion
- Public commitment to LGBTQ equality
What are the Most (and the Least) LGBTQ Friendly Companies in the US?
More and more companies in America are creating diversity initiatives, yet with all the progress being made in LGBTQ rights, some industries are still lagging behind.
So if you’re part of the LGBT community what are the best industries to work in?
There are some surprising winners and losers on the list, while some industries are exactly where you would expect them to be.
Companies within the banking & finance, law and insurance sectors have topped the list, as they have done for the past few years. Wells Fargo, Bloomberg, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Mayer Brown LLP Chicago and Shearman & Sterling LLP are just a few of 609 companies that scored a perfect 100 across all categories.
In direct comparison, industries such as mining, engineering and freight all fell towards the bottom of the list, falling behind other industries in updating their policies to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community.
Fashion is probably the biggest surprise on the list. Often portrayed as an LGBTQ friendly industry, HRC’s report shows that things aren’t quite as they seem.
With a lot of the industries success coming from the gay community – Tom Ford, Andrew Logan, Alexander McQueen to name just a few – it comes as a surprise to reveal that only 8 companies in the fashion industry scored a perfect 100 compared with Law at 129 companies and Banking at finance at 79 companies.
Education, Real Estate, Marketing and Airlines also scored low on the list and have a long way to go when it comes to creating safe and inclusive workplaces for the LGBTQ community.
The Best and the Worst LGBTQ Industries to Work in
Which State Claims the Most LGBTQ Friendly Companies?
Looking at the data in more detail, OverdraftApps.com have mapped the states which are home to the headquarters of the most LGBTQ friendly companies.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, California, Illinois and New York topped the list, with companies in these states making up 17% of the total list of LGBTQ friendly companies. All three states have explicit nondiscrimination laws based on sexual orientation which has probably helped companies headquartered in these states create excellent LGBT equality policies.
At the other end of the spectrum, the states with the lowest number of LGBTQ friendly companies are Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana – making up just 0.3% of the total list. Interestingly, two of these states (Arkansas and Alabama) don’t have legislation in place which specifically protects LGBT individuals from discrimination.
US States with most LGBTQ Friendly Industries
The Impact of Employer Equality on LGBTQ Personal Finance
A separate study by OverdraftApps has shown that sexual orientation can lead to financial disadvantage, with many people within the LGBTQ community say that discrimination at work has had a significant effect on their finances. 62% of those surveyed by Experian have also cited their sexual orientation or gender identity as a reason for financial challenges.
Some of the main challenges they face are:
- Discrimination or harassment at work (13%)
- Not being considered for jobs (12%)
- Being given a lower salary compared to the general population and less inclined to be given a promotion (10%)
While we often like to think that we live in a progressive country, often the laws are still not in place to protect people within the LGBTQ community from discrimination at work. While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on race, color, sex or religion, there is no clause specifying protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Ruben Aknin – Co-founder at OverdraftApps.com explains:
“The results of the HRC survey shines a light on the many positive steps that have been taken by companies all over the US to revolutionise their inclusivity and diversity policies.
“Whilst some industries, states and companies are making leaps and bounds towards inclusivity, it is clear that there are still some sectors who need to review and revise their policies for their LGBTQ workforce.”
Uri Abramson – Co-founder at OverdraftApps.com adds:
“These improvements will not only have a profound impact on the working conditions for our LGBTQ community, but it will have a positive effect on their finances, too.
“From closing pay gaps through to job security and promotions, professional industries still have some work to do to improve diversity and inclusivity”
Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce says:
“Corporations need to do their due diligence when trying to attract LGBT employees. Only advertising to the community isn’t going to do it.
“Companies must ensure they are treating their LGBT employees fairly, as well as utilizing LGBT businesses in their diverse supply chains.”
What’s next for employers looking to improve inclusivity?
There are currently 104 top American businesses, that employ over 5.8 million people, co-sponsoring the Equality Act. This would provide legislation to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination under federal law, giving them the same protection as other protected groups in the US.
The road to equality is a long one, but some of the findings from these studies show companies in the US are making a really good start. Whilst there are industries and companies falling behind, there are also those taking huge strides to create more inclusive workplaces for their LGBTQ employees.
Equality is not only good for employees, but it’s also good for business too, creating diverse workforces as well as recruiting and retaining workers. Encouraging companies to support inclusivity and diversity legislation not only benefits the LGBTQ community but also other employees and the employers, helping to create real difference to culture in the workplace.
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