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Best European Countries for LGBTQ Professionals to Live and Work

Globally, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and heteroflexible equality rights, protections, and benefits differ greatly from country to country.  Even in the U.S. over half the states do not provide LGBTQ legal protections.   A recent study found that even being perceived as LGBTQ can impact your ability to get hired, get promoted and even if hired the salary the employer decides you are worth is typically less than what they’d offer a perceived heterosexual.

LGBTQ professionals may have great experience to bring to their next employer that is based on volunteer or paid work they performed at an LGBTQ non-profit.  The gay/lesbian professional has to decide if to be out on their resume to best represent that experience to land that new job.  They have to consider the current work environment and if the new work environment will not only a great career move but also if it will be free from harassment and discrimination.  Often they have to put up with “less will be better”.  With all the study backed data, it is no wonder that  72% of LGBTQ people report experiencing unhealthy stress due to un-supportive and sometimes hostile work environments through discrimination in its many forms. No matter the political landscape where you do business, your company can establish policies and benefits to support your LGBTQ employees and reap the benefits as a company.

Initiated by the European Court of Justice’s recent call for same-sex spouses to receive residential rights in all European countries, the study conducted an extensive review of the 26 different European countries to assess the landscape of right and quality of life for LGBTQ citizens.

Malta Number 1 Best European Country to Live and Work for LGBTQ Professionals OutBuro Gay Networking Community business news LGBT GLBT Lesbian Transgender Queer bisexual information
Malta – Number 1 Best European Country for LGBTQ Professionals to Live and Work

For this study, researchers considered a wide array of important issues such as:

  • LGBTQ inclusive employment rights
  • Laws protecting sexual orientation and gender expression
  • fair and equal housing laws
  • housing rental costs
  • LGBT hate crime rates

Top 5

  1. Malta
  2. Denmark
  3. Croatia
  4. Austria
  5. Spain

Malta – Lots of Reasons it is Number 1

Malta sored to the top of the ranking to claim the title of the best place to work and live if you’re LGBTQ+ professional.  Malta has the second lowest unemployment rate in Europe, coupled with its well-known nightlife for letting loose over the weekend.  It is one of Central Europe’s fastest growing tech scene, and the most extensive laws to protect their LGBTQ+ residents.  In addition, Malta believes in work-life balance providing the highest minimum amount of annual paid leave and bank holidays of 38 days combined.

Bottom 5

26. Latvia

25. Bulgaria

24. Italy

23. Lithuania

22. Ireland

Expert Market Research Info Graphic - Best Places to Work in Europe for LGBTQ Professionals - OutBuro Gay Business Networking Community Owner Entrepreneurs Lesbian Leaders Startup Queer
Infographic courtesy of Expert Market

From these various facts and figures, they then allocated each country with a ‘rainbow score’ to determine which would be the best options for young, travel-hungry LGBT+ professionals.

The United Kingdom also featured in the top 10, although close neighboring countries including Spain, France, and Germany all boasted a higher ‘rainbow score’ – a fact which can probably be attributed to rising rental prices and overall cost of living.

Researchers also note that city-wide legislation protecting against hate crime in the UK hasn’t been implemented nationally, also contributing to its comparatively low rating.

Meanwhile, countries like Italy – known for its repeated refusals to recognize same-sex marriage – and Latvia – officially the worst, a fact which has been acknowledged in the past – populate the bottom end of the list. Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Ireland all round out the lowest five, proving that there’s still work to be done in order to make Europe truly LGBT+-friendly.


Know of studies that are interesting we should cover?  Send us the tip so that we can share it.

LGBTQ Employees Still Face Legal Discrimination - OutBuro Employer Reviews Rating Gay Professional Network Lesbian Business Networking GLBT Company Queer Bisexual Transgender

LGBTQ Employees Still Face Legal Discrimination

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people less likely to be hired, paid less, and not promoted. Political leaders change, and with that change, the federal, state and local government profess can be great or take steps backward. So it’s up to the corporate world to provide the protections and advances for their employees. When companies focus on Diversity and Inclusion it benefits the company, the shareholders and the employees.

American everyday people attitudes have changed considerably in the last decade. The more comfortable LGBT people are coming out and being visible within the family, in their neighborhoods/communities and at work, the more others see them and get to know them. This removes the fear of “other” and “not like me”. I’ve had a saying for several years that is, “visibility leads to awareness and awareness leads to equality. In 2017, 63% of Americans said gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers should be accepted by society according to a Pew Research Center survey. In 2006 only a razor-thin 51% of Americans stated they agreed with that statement. This change in attitudes by every day Americans may be the reason for the changes in corporate diversity and inclusion work culture. As of now, right about 89% of Fortune 500 companies have implemented company LGBTQ friendly and supportive policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation studies conducted by the Human Rights Campaign. However, even with these changing beliefs and attitudes, the local, state, federal laws have not yet caught up with the changing tide.

There is currently no nation-wide law to protect gender and sexual minorities from employment discrimination in the private sector or under most states employment laws. In the majority of the US states, being fired due to sexual orientation or gender orientation is a huge risk and reality. In Arkansas, the state government went as far as passing a law to prevent local governments from passing separate laws to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender orientation.

Twenty-eight states have laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation for public employees according to Lambda Legal. Some argue that providing protections for LGBTQ people in at work violates the religious freedom of the business owner or other employees. Some companies/organizations prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ workers if they work for the state but have no law extending to private sector employers.

In a past article titled “LGBT Workers in over half of the United States lack full protection”, we compared the legal protection each state offers against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender orientation. Check out this article for a graphic of the United States coverage of LGBT state-level protections.

What Can Companies Do to Improve Work Culture for LGBT Employees?

Check out the articles below:

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