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LGBTIQ Employment Equality Index, North Macedonia 2020

17 th May 2021, Skopje

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, also present in Cyprus, Greece and the United States, invites you to follow the official presentation of the LGBTIQ Employment Equailty Index. The index is introduced for the first time in North Macedonia and is a system ranking companies which protects and supports the rights and dignity of LGBTIQ jobseekers 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, jobseekers 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 at the workplace.

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

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 life 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 “.

The Headhunter Group founder, Mr. Elton Ilirjani
Mr. Elton Ilirjani, founder of The Headhunter Group

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 have 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 jobseekers and employees. Companies lack of policies, practices, and trained human resource managers in the field of diversity at work. Just to mention 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?

Exactly 50% of companies state that they 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 which 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 appart, we see an 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, through making our technical available to them. “

The HeadHunter Group will introduce the results of this Index on May 17, 2021, at group’s web site

www.theheadhunter.com and at the following web portals:

All the media in the country are invited to follow the official report, where interesting results for this year will be presented.

For full reports in English, Albanian and Macedonian language, visit: http://dignity.global/our-work/

LGBT veterans discharged from British Army allowed to reclaim their lost medals

Former soldiers who were discharged from the British army because of their sexual orientation or gender identity will now be able to recover their lost medals, the UK Ministry of Defence announced on Tuesday.

Until a change in legislation in 2000, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were not allowed to serve in the British Army.

It is not known how many LGBT personel were effected by the ban or the number of those who are eligible to have their cases reviewed and their medals restored.

On its website, the Ministry of Defence has stated that it is “committed to remedying this historic wrong” by putting in place “a policy to enable these people to claim the return of their medals”.

The soldiers concerned – or their close relatives in the event of their death – can now request that their case be examined by the Defence Council and will be awarded a new medal if their case is approved.


In a tweet, Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed this change which will allow us to “tackle a historical wrong” and repair this “very great injustice”.

He said: “Those who serve in our Armed Forces deserve every recognition for their service. It was a very great injustice that this was denied to some members simply because of their sexuality. I hugely welcome the fact we can now address this historic wrong”.

The announcement was also welcomed by the veterans’ association Fighting with Pride, which welcomes this “return of LGBT+ veterans to the military family, where they will be recognised for their services”.


However, the association is calling for further investigation into the “long-term consequences” of their dismissal on the “health, housing and employment” of LGBT+ soldiers, “many of whom are still living in poverty today”.

The change comes after the legal battle of former Falklands War veteran Joe Ousalice, who last year managed to get his confiscated medal returned when he was forced to leave the Royal Navy because of his sexual orientation.

At the time of his discharge, his sexuality was believed to be “prejudicial to good order and naval discipline”.

The 70-year-old Southampton native, a former radio operator who also served in the Middle East and Northern Ireland during his 18-year career, was stripped of his Long Service and Good Conduct medal after being court-martialled in 1993 for his bisexuality.





EEI questionare – The Headhunter KARRIERA LLC

We spoke to Elton Ilirjani, founder and CEO of The Headhunter KARRIERA LLC, about employment practices in their company:

  • Does the company have a non- discrimination and equal employment opportunity policy that applies to all employees?

E.I.: Yes, we have EEI policy that applies to all employees.

  • Does the non-discrimination and equal employment opportunity policy contain the terms ‘sexual orientation’, ‘gender identity’ and/or ‘gender conformity’?

E.I.: Yes, it explicitly contains this terms in way that sexual orientation discrimination is not allowed at workplace.

  • Does the company have a Human Resource Manager or a Senior Executive with a mission mandate or specific responsibility that includes non- discrimination and equal employment opportunity?

E.I.: At the moment we have HR Manager that takes care of human resources department in the company and has a mission covering this topics.

  • Does the mission mandate of this Human Resource Manager or Senior Executive specifically include LGBTIQ diversity?

E.I.: Yes, we know that our employees are our strength, and we do not split them in columns, all employees are equal and only important thing is that we have same vision, mission and to grow together.

  • Does the company provide other managers, supervisors and team leaders with training on non-discrimination and equal employment opportunity?

E.I.: We have regular trainings including non discrimination and equal employment seminars and trainings.

  • Does the company provide training to all employees on non-discrimination and equal opportunity in the workplace?

E.I.: Yes, we have online trainings, 1on1 trainings to all employees provided by certified trainers.

  • If the company has a non- discrimination and equal employment opportunity policy, how is it made available to your employees and candidates?

E.I.: Trough our email list and communication manager we sent our newsletter and all policies to our employees.

  • Does the company recruitment policy include a specific reference to LGBTIQ persons?

E.I.: Yes. We strictly train our recruiters not to discriminate any candidate.

  • Are the company application forms and interview questionnaires designed to ask questions in a LGBTIQ-friendly manner?

E.I.: Yes.

  • Does the company have a mechanism in place to report discrimination or harassment based on gender identity and/or sexual orientation in the workplace?

E.I.: Yes. Our HR Manager is in charge for this part, they are doing all the trainings and supervision regarding discrimination.

  • Is someone in the company trained on how to deal with this if there is a compliant submitted on discrimination, bullying or harassment based on gender identity and/or sexual orientation in the workplace?

E.I.: Yes.

  • Does the company have any mechanism in place to evaluate and mitigate the safety and other welfare concerns of LGBTIQ employees in the workplace?

E.I.: Yes, we have regular meetings with all of our employees and we keep data and summaries of this meetings.

  • Has the company supported any other initiatives to promote social and professional inclusion of minorities including LGBTIQ persons?

E.I.: Yes, the company is trying to support this positive initiatives and to promote social and professional inclusion of LGBTIQ persons.

  • Has the company developed a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy?

E.I.: Yes.

  • If YES to question 15., does the Corporate Social Responsibility strategy include specifically LGBTIQ diversity?

E.I.: Yes.

  • During the last two years, has the company made any donations or offered any sponsorships to charities or community-based organisations?

E.I.: Yes. We offer sponsorships to great talents.

  • During the last two years, has the company joined any campaigns or initiatives to support publicly LGBTIQ equality and inclusion?

E.I.: Yes. We are part of many campaigns and initiatives to support publicly LGBTIQ equality and inclusion. I hosted a lot of TV shows where I spoke publicly, as company founder about this and supported LGBTIQ persons.

  • Does the company have guidelines that prohibit doing business with companies or organizations that openly and actively discriminate against LGBTIQ people or any racial/religious minorities?

E.I.: We do not explicitly have this kind of guidelines but we are in the process of creating something similar, as our goal is to cooperate only with companies that are non discriminating in any way.


On the basis of the answers submitted, The Headhunter KARRIERA LLC is listed in GOLD category of companies of EEI.


Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week

A big emphasis is made on sexual orientation — but people have a romantic orientation as well, based on the emotional attraction they may feel towards others. Aromantics typically lack the experience of that feeling.

If you didn’t know, Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week (ASAW) is for raising awareness and progressing acceptance of aromantic spectrum identities, which include people who generally are uninterested in romantic relationships. It is held on the first full week following Valentine’s Day (typically Feb. 14), which in 2021 is from February 21 to February 27.


About Aromanticism

Aromanticism is a type romantic orientation – that is, an identity that can describe a persons relationship to romance or patterns of romantic attraction or interest.

Aromantic people’s experiences of romance (or the lack thereof) are often disconnected from normative societal expectations in some way. This can be due to experiencing little to no romantic attraction, due to feeling repulsed by romance, or due to being uninterested in romantic relationships.

Many aromantic people mention having trouble relating to the experience of “falling in love”, or of having romantic “crushes”. Many may pursue non-traditional forms of intimate relationships, or choose not to have formal “relationships” at all.

There is significant diversity in whether aromantic may or may not enjoy specific activities that are often coded as romantic (such as kissing), be uncomfortable with romance, be single or have a partner or be married – those are individual characteristics that vary widely from one aromantic person to another.

This week was first recognized from November 10th-17th in 2014, under the name Aromantic Awareness Week; in 2015, it was moved to late February, and the name was changed to Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week to be more specifically inclusive of all arospec identities.

The celebratory event is internationally recognized. During the week, LGBTQ groups worldwide hold events to raise awareness of aromanticism and show support for people on the aromantic spectrum. It is now entering its eighth year, after starting in November of 2014.

ASAW is a week centered around spreading information and awareness about aromanticism and making sure aromantic spectrum voices and issues are heard and understood. This is an important day to bring visibility to a sometimes forgotten about section of the LGBTQ+ community, their struggles and experiences.





The number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups grew 43% in 2019

The White House said that it’s disgusting to call them out for associating with and promoting anti-LGBTQ hate groups.

Anti-LGBTQ hate groups are on the rise in the U.S., according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), but the Trump administration is calling it a “far-left smear.” The SPLC released its 2019 “Year in Hate and Extremism” report, which says that the number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups rose by 43% since 2018. It is now following 70 anti-LGBTQ hate groups in the U.S.

“The Trump administration has demonstrated a clear willingness to embrace their leaders and their policy agenda,” the SPLC report states, referring to how Trump administration officials have filed legal briefs on behalf of hate groups, spoken at events organized by hate groups, nominated judges connected to hate groups, and even hiring former hate group employees to work in key civil rights positions. “According to a report by Lambda Legal, a third of the more than 50 U.S. circuit court judges nominated by Trump have a ‘demonstrated history of anti-LGBTQ bias,’” the SPLC report says. “Lambda argues that the justice system is ‘now indisputably in a state of crisis.’” The report says that much of the growth in anti-LGBTQ hate groups has taken place “at the grassroots level” and citeand his Faithful Word Baptist Church as an example.