Over half of LGBTQ+ Americans would ‘never’ apply for a job in a state with anti-LGBTQ+ laws

In this image of a job interview, a masculine presenting person wearing green looks on nervously as a woman with glasses is looking down at an iPad.

A new survey has revealed the staggering impact of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the United States on the LGBTQ+ community’s attitudes to work and employment. 

As hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills continue to be drafted and passed into law in the US, LGBTQ+ people are feeling the impact when it comes to decisions about their careers.

The survey by job-finding site Indeed found that 65 per cent of LGBTQ+ adults in the US are concerned about how anti-LGBTQ+ laws and bills could affect their employment prospects.

Over half (52 per cent) said that they would never apply for a job in a state that had anti-LGBTQ+ laws in place. 

As the state of Florida, which is led by Republican governor and presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis, faces a “mass migration” of trans people following the introduction of a raft of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, over 75 per cent of LGBTQ+ people surveyed said that they would hesitate to apply for a job based in a state with anti-LGBTQ+ laws, and also if the company had headquarters in one of those states. 

Discrimination still runs rampant at work

30 per cent of respondents said that they had personally experienced discrimination while at work, with almost 80 per cent most saying they had either witnessed or experienced micro-aggressions.

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More than half reported witnessing or experiencing verbal harassment or name-calling in the workplace.

Just as concerning is that many LGBTQ+ employees in the US believe that their sexuality or gender identity is keeping them from climbing the corporate ladder.

60 per cent think that they’ve been passed over for a promotion because of their identity, and 57 per cent believe that they had been targeted for a performance review for being queer.

Furthermore, 47 per cent believe that they receive less pay than their cis-het colleagues. 

For the trans and non-binary community in the US, the picture is even more grim: Over 50 per cent of trans people say they face added stigmas and judgement at their job compared to the rest of the LGBTQ+ community.

Due to this pressure, 62 per cent of trans people feel they need to manage their identity at work, while 38 per cent say they need to hide their authentic identity at work. 

How can employers help LGBTQ+ employees?

Given these statistics, it should come as no surprise that business leaders need to support their LGBTQ+ employees. While saying a business is inclusive on job adverts is a good start, employers need to back that up, but how?

The Indeed report pointed out that businesses with an LGBTQ+ employee resource group (ERG) can serve as a benefit for queer employees. Over 80 per cent said having an ERG has made their work experience more comfortable and has improved their overall wellbeing.

Another way employers can support their LGBTQ+ employees is by offering benefits that cater to the community. Indeed’s report revealed that 57 per cent of LGBTQ+ employees believe that it’s important to have access to LGBTQ+-specific benefits, but less than a quarter say that they are available. 

How LGBTQ+ job seekers can find the right fit

As homophobia and transphobia continue to swell in the US thanks to anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, queer job seekers should do research into a possible employer before they start the application process. The best way for LGBTQ+ talent to find out if a possible employer is queer-friendly is to check for specific wording and benefits within the job advertisement. 

In its report, Indeed found that 87 per cent of LGBTQ+ job seekers researched a business before applying, and 45 per cent said that they specifically checked for LGBTQ+ inclusive benefits. Job seekers should be on the lookout for specific benefits like mental health support and coverage for domestic partners. 

Additionally, LGBTQ+ talent in the US should look to see if there is an equal employment opportunity statement or an equal employment opportunity (EEO) officer on staff – something that would signpost that the company is committed to staying current with current policies and equal employment opportunity laws.

Indeed’s data found that nearly 80 per cent of LGBTQ+ workers are more likely to apply for a job when there is an EEO statement in place.

Finally, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has put together an interactive map that highlights up to date information on states that are actively pursuing anti-LGBTQ+ laws.