LGBTIQ Employment Equality Index Report

The Headhunter Group together with the non-profit organization Dignity Global and its foundation People First and with the strong support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in North Macedonia as a part of its social responsibility created and implemented the LGBTIQ Employment Equality Index.

The HeadHunter, the largest Group operating in the areas of Human Resources, in the Western Balkans, is also present in Cyprus, Greece, and the United States. The index is introduced for the first time in North Macedonia and is a system ranking company that protects and supports the rights and dignity of LGBTIQ job-seekers and employees. The index rewards those companies which have devotedly put into practice diversity at the workplace. The index also represents a great opportunity for companies, job seekers, and legal authorities, to promote best practices in the employment sector. This is an opportunity to provide concrete information about education and awareness-raising against discrimination in the workplace.

People First is the foundation part of the worldwide Dignity Global non-government organization founded in 2019 with its headquarters in New York City. The main focus is on equal opportunities for everyone around the world no matter race, age, sex, religious beliefs, or cultural background.

The HeadHunter Group‘s founder, Mr. Elton ILIRJANI, states in relation to this Index: “We have created the Index as a way to contribute more specifically to improving the lives of citizens pertaining to LGBTIQ community, by introducing it first in Albania and then in Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina and North Macedonia. By strengthening the competitive spirit in the private sector, we have created this Index to reward companies in their efforts to include LGBTIQ people in the workplace, and to encourage companies in receiving ever-higher ratings, year after year”.

In the Index, a number of 70 companies and organizations of North Macedonia, from a big number of industries, were included in the survey, which expressed their willingness to participate in this research. 

Following a standardized format and methodology, The HeadHunter Group staff makes verification of policies and practices in place while conducting interviews. Out of the 70 participating companies, five of them have managed to win awards; bronze, silver, and gold.

Analysis of findings has shown that policies, diversity, practices, and programs in general, in the workplace, are absent in North Macedonia. Even if they are present, generally do not include LGBTIQ community job seekers and employees. Companies lack policies, practices, and trained human resource managers in the field of diversity at work. 

Just to mention a few key findings from the study, on the question: Does the company have a non-discrimination and equal employment opportunity policy that applies to all employees?  50% of companies state that currently have a policy for non-discrimination and equal opportunity for all employees. Although this represents half of participating companies, as this question is not specifically for LGBTIQ persons but for all persons, it shows that there is still tremendous room for improvement in building a culture of non-discrimination. Companies were asked if the policy is specific to LGBTIQ and related status.  None of the companies had policies that contained language related to LGBTIQ and related status, again highlighting the fact that employment policies as yet do not sufficiently protect LGBTIQ job-seekers and employees. However, is positive that 13% of the companies mention that all terms are included in their policies and only 6 % of companies train their human resource managers or other directors on non-discrimination and equal opportunities.

Taking into account the findings, The HeadHunter Group sees a great need for training about diversity in the workplace for companies in North Macedonia, as well as about standardized policies and practices that companies can tailor and adopt. “In the Index’s findings, we were not surprised by the lack of investment in the workplace diversity,” says The HeadHunter‘s founder, Mr. Elton ILIRJANI, “but negativity apart, we see a unique opportunity and interest from companies in adopting policies and train their staff on this issue. We are ready to offer support to companies based on their willingness, by making our technology available to them.

Neptun Makedonija is the company that has received the Gold Award for the best-ranked company at the LGBTIQ Employment Index and the award was handed from Ambassador of Netherlands Dirk Jan Kop to Mr. Goran Cvetinov – General Manager of Neptun Makedonija. 

The Employment Equality Index Gala was held on Zoom on October 28th where the winners received their awards, shared their experiences, and how they are looking forward to including and employing experienced people regardless of their age, sex, religious beliefs, or cultural background.

Published: November 9, 2021