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Less than 6% of UK job ads welcome LGBTQ+ applicants

Fewer than one in six UK job postings explicitly welcomed people from all sexual orientations and gender identities, new research for Pride month showed
The rate of LGBTQ+ inclusive job adverts in the UK was significantly behind Germany's, where more than 87 per cent of adverts welcomed applications from all sexual orientations and gender identities. Image: Pixabay

Belfast is the UK’s most inclusive hiring city, according to new Pride month research into job adverts encouraging LGBTQ+ people to apply which showed “room for improvement” in the labour market.

But less than six per cent (56,261) of all UK job postings contained written statements welcoming people from all sexual orientations and gender identities, trailing far behind Germany (87.4 per cent), New Zealand (53.8 per cent) and the US (26.7 per cent).

Northern Irish employers ranked above those in cities such as London, Brighton and Manchester, with nearly a fifth (18.5 per cent) of job postings appealing to LGBTQ+ applicants.

“Fewer than one in sixteen job ads explicitly encourage applications from the LGBTQ+ community, meaning plenty of room for improvement for UK employers to press for diverse hiring,” said Andrew Hunter, co-founder of jobs board Adzuna.

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“Many employers are inclusive to LGBTQ+ workers but haven’t updated their job advert language to reflect this,” he added. “But jobseekers are becoming more discerning and are increasingly looking for statements of support for minority groups when applying for roles.”

Adzuna analysed nearly 9.7 million job vacancies across 10 different countries which host major Pride parades, with researchers recording the number of adverts containing statements which were explicitly encouraging LGBTQ people to apply just before Pride month.

The number of inclusive job adverts in Northern Ireland nearly tripled between January 2020 – when same-sex marriage was legalised – and May 2021, growing from 193 to 540.

Portsmouth ranked second in the UK, recording 10.1 per cent of job postings appealing for LGBTQ+ applicants, followed by Edinburgh at 9.3 per cent. 

Swansea employers posted the fewest LGBTQ+ inclusive job adverts at 1.6 per cent, with hirers in Stoke faring only slightly better at 2.2 per cent.

A work report from LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall said employers should include “statements and examples of their commitment to LGBT staff, equality and inclusion” on their website as part of their efforts to be an inclusive workplace, making sure that “a commitment to diversity and inclusion” is clearly communicated in vacancy adverts.

Employers do not have to advertise vacancies in any particular way, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, but must avoid indirectly discriminating against people with particular protected characteristics (such as age and sexual orientation). This includes advertising in a way which won’t reach certain demographics.

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“If you’re looking to improve the diversity of your workforce, adding inclusive language into a job ad is a simple and effective way to encourage applications from minority groups,” Hunter said.

“More UK employers need to become allies to the LGBTQ+ community by showing open support for its members throughout the hiring process and creating more inclusive work environments. On the global playing field, the UK is far behind Germany, Australia, New Zealand and the US in this regard. Encouraging a culturally rich workforce is crucial to strive towards wider equality.”

Adzuna researchers found scientific industries to be the most LGBTQ+ inclusive, with 12.6 per cent (1,567) of job adverts encouraging applications from LGBTQ+ people just before this year’s Pride month, followed by IT at 10.7 per cent.

By comparison, only 2.6 per cent of trade and construction job vacancies explicitly welcomed people from all sexual orientations and gender identities to apply.

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