Finding the Right LGBTQ-Friendly Employment Atmosphere

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employment seekers
Photo via Unsplash

It is important to find a job where you feel completely comfortable clocking in day after day, and this is especially true for those in the LGBTQ community. However, sometimes, it can feel like an uphill battle. Currently, the numbers related to jobs and earnings for this group are unfavorable at best.

According to a 2017 study, one out of five LGBTQ individuals reported discrimination at their jobs based on their sex and preferences. Meanwhile, transgender households were four times more likely to have a total income of less than $10K per year. While it is slow going, some politicians and courts have made strides toward equality for all LGBTQ people, including adding gender identity as a protected class and the recent Supreme Court win that states that employers cannot discriminate their workforce based on their sexual orientation or transgender status.

Things are slowly changing, and many employers are changing their policies for the better.. If you are looking for a company that will appreciate you for who you are, then heed these tips and find that dream job.

Determining If a Company is LGBTQ-Friendly

Whether you are looking for a job in a specific career or for any position to get your feet wet, then you may need to do some digging. Start by reaching out to your network to find out which companies they work for. Do they enjoy working for that company? Are they treated fairly? If it sounds interesting, ask if there are any positions available.

You can also do a bit of research to see how much a company values its employees. Check them out on social media and look at their posts. Do they promote diversity, or do they not speak of it at all? You can also check reviews by previous employees on job websites like Indeed and Glassdoor to see how a company generally treats its employees. The reviewers may not mention sexual orientation, but if there are comments about a company not caring about their employees in general, there is a good chance that they will care even less about LGBTQ people.

Finally, once you do get a bite, ask some tough questions during the interview, beginning with directly asking them how they describe their culture. The answers can tell you a lot, especially if they state that they have a zero-tolerance discrimination policy. You can be even more direct by asking questions about how the company supports minorities or what kind of diversity training they have. It is perfectly okay to ask these questions and be selective, so you can find a suitable work environment.

Review The Benefits

We are all out there looking for the dream job, with the best perks like better pay and a shorter workweek, but for many LGBTQ folks, just finding any job can be a struggle. More than that, it is important for them to get a job with good benefits because there are some notable disparities for LGBTQ folks when compared to the general population. There can often be a lack of access to healthcare and they can have less money for retirement due to a lack of employment, so getting the right job is paramount. Feel free to inquire about the benefits that the company provides as early as the interview stage so you can make an informed decision.

The big one is medical benefits and health insurance. When looking at medical benefits, it is important to find a company that has comprehensive health insurance without exclusions. If the available information states that the policies are also for same-sex spouses and domestic partners, then even better, but be sure to ask. Policies should also state that there are no exclusions when it comes to medical leave when the child of a domestic partner is sick, and bereavement should also be all-inclusive.

You should also consider the company’s retirement plan. According to studies, LGTBQ folks are more likely than the general population to make less than $50,000 a year, which is a problem on its own. However, while this is the case, a good retirement plan is essential to ensure that you can retire along with everyone else and do so comfortably. For the best outcome, look for retirement plans that include a generous match of at least 50 cents per dollar and those that allow you to join and participate at any time, not just during selective periods.

Go-To LGBTQ-Proven Companies

Of course, the easiest way to find a friendly work atmosphere is to look to companies who have already made a commitment to the LGBTQ community. These are companies that hold their employees in the highest regard, and they will have the benefits that you require. Start your search by checking with the local chapter of your LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. They work to connect individuals with suitable businesses, so you will know you are in the right place.

The next step is to look at some of the more common positions held by LGBTQ people and see if it sounds like a career you would be interested in. If you are passionate about your sexuality and you want to serve others, then consider a career as a gender therapist or a youth counselor where you can help those who are struggling with understanding their true selves. If you feel that there hasn’t been enough done to help those in your community, then you could also go back to school, get a law degree, and work as a civil rights lawyer.

Another way to look for a business that will appreciate you and help you thrive is to consult the Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies based on their appreciation of the LGBTQ community along with the benefits they offer. Recently, Monster reviewed the index and found that hundreds of companies are working to make the world a better place in this regard, including those in advertising, banking, biotech, and more. Check out the list, and you may just find your dream job.

We all deserve to go to a job where we are appreciated and treated like everyone else. One day every company will be accepting of all applicants. In the meantime, try these tips to find a position where you can thrive.

Cover Photo via Unsplash

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