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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 18, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 38
Washington ranks sixth in LGBT-friendly companies, study says
Section One
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Washington ranks sixth in LGBT-friendly companies, study says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Washington State ranks sixth in the country in the number of LGBT-friendly companies, according to a new study by Expert Market.

Expert Market is a so-called B2B, or business-to-business, marketing company that links businesses up with suppliers.

The aim of the study, which was released September 14, was to determine where it was 'best to be gay in corporate America.' Expert Market used HRC's Corporate Equality Index (CEI) as its baseline and then determined which states had the highest percentage of HRC's top-ranked businesses.

The most recent CEI rankings included 781 companies, of which 366 scored the top ranking of 100. Obviously, these businesses are not evenly distributed around the country.

Expert Market found that the top 10 states for LGBT-friendly businesses were as follows:

1. Maryland (67%)
2. Massachusetts (65%)
3. Nevada (57%)
4. Minnesota (55%)
5. New York (53%)
6. Washington (53%)
7. Illinois (51%)
8. California (49%)
9. Connecticut (43%)
10. Kentucky (43%)

The study's authors said the final ranking 'is interesting, as Maryland falls into the second worst category in the State Equality Index (SEI).'

The SEI is another HRC research tool, which measures legal equality and diversity protections by state.

The authors speculated that Maryland's success may also be due to the fact that the state has 'a relatively small number of companies in the survey. Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, and California all show great diversity policies across a large number of companies and may be ideal choices if you are looking for an inclusive corporate workplace.'

Commenting on the analysis, Deena Fidas, head of HRC Foundation's Workplace Equality Program and co-author of the CEI, told Gay Star News that she was cautious about endorsing the results of the study.

'We welcome interest in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index,' she said. 'The analysis by state, however, skews the data in favor of those states that are home to fewer headquarters of major businesses, making it appear that they have a more LGBT-inclusive climate.

'Job seekers and consumers would better be served by looking at broader regional analyses of LGBT-inclusive workplace benefits and practices, including industry breakdowns and user-friendly resources like our Buying for Equality Guide.

'The fact is [that] top-rated CEI employers are operating throughout the country, proving time and time again that equality is synonymous with good business.'

If there are winners, there are also losers. The states with the lowest percentage of LGBT-friendly companies were as follows:

1. Colorado (0%)
2. Arizona (0%)
3. Arkansas (0%)
4. Tennessee (7%)
5. Texas (8%)
6. Nebraska (17%)
7. Missouri (21%)
8. Virginia (24%)
9. Florida (24%) 10. Pennsylvania (26%)

Colorado's last-place ranking was surprising, given that it has firm antidiscrimination laws and scores highly on the SEI and other measures.

The research also looked at the industries that had the most LGBTI-friendly corporate organizations and those that had the least.

Coming out on top were 'hotels, casinos and resorts,' and 'consulting and business services.'

The industries with the least number of LGBT-friendly companies were the 'engineering and construction' and 'healthcare medical facilities' sectors.

In a statement, Michael Horrocks, head of marketing at Expert Market said, 'It is great to see so many companies embracing the diversity of their employees, particularly the case of Maryland, where businesses are actually surpassing the state's commitment towards equal rights for LGBT employees.'

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