If you wanted to try a stint at working abroad, but weren’t sure where to go, how would you decide?
Some people would toss a coin, whilst others would spend hours cross-referencing rent prices, average salaries, the safety index and more.
It’s safe to say that we fall wholeheartedly into the second of these categories - we’re a data-driven bunch, after all.
We decided to put our love of spreadsheets to use and calculate which European country is the best place to move to if you’re young, professional and identify as LGBTQ+. Of course, nowhere is perfect. However, some governments do appear to be taking extra steps to tackle discrimination in the workplace.
For this study, we looked at very specific metrics around lifestyle and employment. We took lifestyle factors such as rent prices into account, but also incorporated LGBTQ+ legislation data from each country. This included factors such as employment rights on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as laws against hate crime.
Malta making waves
Malta stormed ahead to claim the title of the best place to live and work if you’re LGBTQ+. Their ‘work hard play hard’ ethos means they have the second lowest unemployment rate in Europe, coupled with a renowned party-island nightlife. It has one of the fastest growing tech scenes in central Europe, and the highest number of laws to protect their LGBTQ+ residents.
As if that wasn’t enough to convince you, they also have the highest minimum amount of paid annual leave and bank holidays (38 - that’s 10 more than in the UK). With beer priced at only £1.59 per pint, and beautiful beaches the island over, it’s easy to see Malta’s appeal.
UK secures a spot in the top 10
The UK ranked 9th out of the 26 countries we compared. Whilst it had a high ‘Rainbow Score’, it was unsurprisingly let down by its unusually high rent prices relative to average income.
It still performed better than many countries considered among the most liberal in Europe, such as Sweden and the Netherlands, who ranked 12th and 13th respectively. It seems local UK governments have been much better at introducing legislation against hate crime, but its score would likely improve if these laws could be rolled out nationally.
Unfortunately Ireland has not performed so well, coming in 22nd place. This was partly down to general lifestyle factors - Ireland has of one of the priciest rents in Europe (£1,040 for a one bedroom, city centre apartment), the fifth most expensive cappuccinos and a relatively poor safety index score.
Ireland has taken great steps to becoming more LGBTQ+ friendly, and actually became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote in 2015. However, its 'Rainbow Score' took a hit thanks to limited national legislation in place to criminalise hate crime and speech on the grounds of gender identity or sexuality.
Latvia lags behind
It was a similarly sorry story for Latvia, which has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to protecting the rights of its LGBTQ+ citizens. With no laws in place against hate crime or hate speech for sexual orientation or gender expression, coupled with only 15 days minimum of annual leave, Latvia is definitely one to give a miss.
Of course, data can only tell you so much, and there are lots of other factors at play here. We're always looking to make our research even better and as comprehensive as possible, so if you've lived in any of these countries, we'd love to get your take on this. Leave your comments below, or get in touch via our Facebook page.
In the meantime, why not check out the best places to be your own boss.