Best countries to work in named in new study – and it’s not good news for the US or UK

This is an image of a European building adorned with many flags of the world.

New research has revealed the most inclusive and LGBTQ+-friendly countries to work in around the world.

While some nations improve rights for the LGBTQ+ communities in both the workplace and wider society, other countries continue in 2024 where 2023 year left off: with further anti-LGBTQ+ laws and rhetoric.

Inspired by noticing a steep increase in online searches for “discrimination in the workplace”, global workspace provider Instant Offices wanted to find out which countries in the world are the best to work in.

They ranked the best by analysing and scoring countries with high gross domestic product, based on annual leave, happiness, working hours, annual leave, parental leave and equity. Just don’t expect to find the US or the UK scoring highly too often…

The most inclusive countries to work in


This is an image of the Norwegian flag on a street. The flag is red with a blue cross with white outlines and it is hung outside a blue door on a small village street.
It might be time to go and work in Norway. (Getty Images/PinkNews)

The Nordic country famous for fjords and great skiing can now also boast being the world’s most-inclusive country in which to work.

It has a high inclusivity score and is well-placed on the equality index, while Norwegians enjoy a strong work-life balance, with an average of 34 hours a week “in the office”.

Workers get a minimum of 49 weeks of paid maternity leave, and last year the government introduced a quota for women’s representation on the boards of medium and large-sized firms.


This is an image of the Canadian flag overlooking a small town.
Canada has a long history of acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. (Getty Images/PinkNews)

Canada scored high on the gender equality index and for the safety of women at work.

The country has strong legal protections against discrimination and a history of social acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community.


This is an image of multiple Swedish flags flying around what resembles a castle.
Sweden offers a basic standard of living for all – other countries would do well to copy them. (Getty Images/PinkNews)

Sweden’s scoring and reputation for inclusivity stems from a safety net that guarantees a basic standard of living for all.

The country also has strong parental leave policies for both parents and a history of welcoming immigration policies, including job training for immigrants and refugees. 

Honourable mentions

The Netherlands

This is an image of the Pride flag flying next to the Netherlands flag on a building in Amsterdam.
The Netherlands is the safest country in the world for LGBTQ+ employees. (Getty Images/PinkNews)

The Netherlands ranks as the best country in the world for providing a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQA+ employees, according to ILGA Europe’s latest annual review.

It also tops the charts as the best place for LGBTQ+ people to live, with the highest score of 9.5 for social acceptance of queer people.


This is an image of the Swiss flag on the back of a boat. In the background there is a mountain.
Switzerland boasts a healthy work-life balance, based on a 34.5 hour working week. (Getty Images/PinkNews)

With many places offering views of the Alps, decades of peace and neutrality, and more than the occasional bar of fantastic chocolate, it’s little wonder that Switzerland ranked top on Instant Office’s “happiest countries to work in” list.

Switzerland ranks number one for a minimum wage and advocates for a healthy work-life balance, with an average of 34.5 hours a week spent earning a living.

The United Kingdom and United States fall short

This is an image of the American flag next to the United Kingdom Union Jack flag. They are two separate images.
The US and UK fell short on the list of most-inclusive countries. (Getty Images/PinkNews)

While the statutory maternity pay for 39 weeks at least helped the UK to second spot in the list of best countries for parents to work, the United States didn’t find a place on any of Instant Office’s top three lists.

The US only came ahead of India, Italy, Turkey and Mexico when it comes to LGBTQ+ discrimination protections for employees. 

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