3 June 2024

5 Ways To Tell If An Employer is LGBTQ+ Friendly

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There can be so much mental gymnastics when it comes to working out if an employer is for you, let alone if they’re LGBTQ+-friendly. 

It takes some work, but thankfully, it is illegal to discriminate based on sexuality, gender expression and other characteristics in the UK. However, workplace discrimination can happen, and your safety should always be a priority.

There are a ton of employers, big and small, that have some incredible initiatives for LGBTQ+ people, but where to find them and how can you tell?

Here are five ways to tell if an employer is LGBTQ+-friendly.

Check out their social media

Instagram and TikTok are really good sources of information, and you can use them to understand a company’s culture.

You’ll find that many employers will use social media to show off their achievements, the projects they’re working on and all the fun things they do in and out of the office. It’s the perfect opportunity to scope out whether they’ve ever done anything for the community or been involved in LGBTQ initiatives outside of using a rainbow flag during Pride.

Whether the company has speakers and educational leaders coming to lead workshops, marching at Pride every year or its own LGBTQ Network or society, these are fantastic indicators for an LGBTQ-friendly workplace.

Social media won’t tell you everything, so don’t be alarmed if nothing immediately stands out. You can always ask. How? Read on.

Speak to current employees

One of the best ways you’re going to find out if you’re joining a queer-friendly workplace is by talking to queer people who are already there. You might feel like a stalker, but trust us when we say this is a very common thing to do.

But where do you find them? LinkedIn will be your bestie. There are loads of LGBTQ networks you can join, and it will be a great place to start. 

For example, the LGBTQ Professional Network has over 80,000 members. You can look through the members list. Or even just using the search feature on LinkedIn.

Always give a quick introduction to who you are and ask permission before launching into a game of 20 questions. But they will be able to give you a candid look into what it’s like to be LGBTQ in a particular workplace.

Ask everything during your interview

An interview isn’t just for employers. It’s also your chance to find out more about the company and determine if they’re right for you. 

While you’re not obliged at any point to come out during the application process, it could be your earliest opportunity to ‘test the waters’ and directly ask about their D&I initiatives or general questions about leadership and current resources.

Some questions can be answered by doing your own company research. However, it’s good to talk to someone. Here are some examples of questions you can ask;

  • What identities are represented in leadership?
  • What do you do during and outside of Pride Month for LGBTQ+ employees?
  • Do you participate in any community events throughout the year?

Remember, it’s not about trying to catch an employer out. By law, employers are supposed to be inclusive. So, if there isn’t much going on, at the very least, these questions will light a fire under their bonnets.

Check out Stonewalls’ Top Employers

Just like we have our Best Student Employers, the charity Stonewall has its very own list of 100 employers who have done fantastic work for LGBTQ+ employees.

The list is made up of submissions from companies all over the UK for Stonewall’s UK Equality Workplace Index. It allows employers to measure workplace inclusion for LGBTQ+ people.

Companies such as Unilever, Sky UK, Clifford Chance and KPMG have made the list. Click below to find out who else made it and more about all the great initiatives these companies have in place.

Have a look at the employer’s policies

Although it’s not a strict legal requirement, many employers will have an Equal Opportunities Policy.

Think of this document as a promise to all current and future staff members that there are equal opportunities and fair treatment for all people regardless of;

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Marital Status
  • Pregnancy
  • Race
  • Religion or Beliefs
  • Sex.

The policy will also outline what procedures are in place to combat any discrimination that arises within a workplace.

Many companies have this document outlined on their company website, while others have made these available for employees through a handbook. You can always ask HR for a copy if you can’t find it on their website.

These are just five of them, but there are many other ways to vet companies. Including,

  • Attending careers fairs
  • Talking to your friends and family members
  • Does the company include pronouns in their email signatures?
  • Healthcare benefits that include cover from transitions.

Your workplace shouldn’t be somewhere you dread going, and it is 100% up to the employer to ensure that the working environment is safe, welcoming and encouraging.

No matter where you are in your career journey, whether on the job hunt or still on campus, there are loads of resources for LGBTQ students (and beyond) to help you.

The Be You Project

The Proud Trust



National Student Pride

Coming out at work

Coming out can be super affirming and liberating. It’s also extremely daunting if you’re not sure.

Hear a little bit from me (alright now, cameo) about coming out at work.