UN Women and The Headhunter Group award companies for inclusion and equality in employment


David Saunders (left), UN Women Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ajla Hadžić, marketing manager of Dm-drogerie markt. Photo: Courtesy of The Headhunter Group

Kathmandu (Pahichan) January 14 – The LGBTIQ Employment Equality Index is a project by The Headhunter Group, a recruiting company in Southeast Europe. It is a ranking system to determine how well companies respect the rights and dignity of LGBTIQ persons in their hiring, training, development, and general employment practices. In addition, it rates their compliance with local labour laws on the topic.

UN Women carried out the Index in Bosnia and Herzegovina to raise awareness about the discrimination LGBTIQ population faces in the workplace, as well as to encourage companies to increase equality, diversity and other positive practices for employees and candidates.

“The Index is prepared by the private sector for the private sector. It assesses the degree to which companies and institutions address discrimination and promote equality within the workplace. As a Workplace Equality Index, it is only natural for UN Women to partner with a human resources and recruitment company to support establishing the Index,” said David Saunders, UN Women Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

143 companies participated in the Index and out of these, awards were handed out to Dm-drogerie markt and British Council (Gold), Center for Investigative Journalism (Silver), and Klix.ba (Bronze).

“We do not make any differences, we accept people as they are, with all their virtues and flaws,” said Ajla Hadžić, marketing manager of Dm-drogerie markt.

“Although Headhunter Group successfully implemented the Index for several years in the region, this is the first year we are doing it in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are very satisfied with the support of partners from the international community who recognized the importance of this issue, as well as local and international companies that have agreed to participate this year. It means a lot to us when the UN, the EU Delegation and the German, British, Japanese and representatives of other embassies support us publicly. Our goal is to double the number of participating companies next year and see positive developments in the internal practices of the companies we will be working with next year,” said Elton Ilirjani, the CEO of The Headhunter Group.

David Saunders (left), UN Women Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Courtesy of The Headhunter Group

David Saunders, UN Women Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Courtesy of The Headhunter Group

The award ceremony was attended by representatives of local and foreign organizations, private companies, as well as representatives of the international community. The awards were given out by David Saunders, UN Women Representative in BiH, British Ambassador Edwards Ferguson, German Ambassador Christiane Hohmann, and the CEO of the Headhunter Group Elton Ilirjani.

When handing out the award, Saunders said, “I have no doubt that next year we will see new companies joining the Index, and, most importantly, I trust we will see improved steps by companies to promote genuine equality, and protect the rights, and dignity of LGBTIQ employees and candidates.”

The Headhunder Group launched the Index three years ago in Albania. This was the first such Index in Eastern Europe and based on international best practices, standards, and local contextual concerns. The Headhunter Group’s LGBTIQ Employment Index measures the policies and practices of companies operating in Albania towards LGBTIQ job-seekers and employees. The Headhunter Group staff interview directors and verify policies and practices of both international and domestic companies. The interview focuses on three main areas of the company’s policies and practices, including:

  • Policies towards LGBTIQ job-seekers and employees
  • Corporate LGBTIQ competency and expertise
  • Corporate Social Responsibility on LGBTIQ Issues and Support