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Updates to the Diversity-Certified Badge


Have you heard about the new Diversity-Certified Badge? We announced them here in October. These badges empower our independent businesses who are Minority-owned (including Black-owned), Woman-owned, U.S. veteran-owned, Disability-owned, and LGBTQ+-owned to leverage their external certifications and help them win more of the work they love. 

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Supplier diversity is important to many businesses that value a diversity of perspectives and points of view. We are deeply committed to creating an inclusive future of economic opportunity on our platform. While we don’t ask our talent community for demographic information today, we have clients with diversity and inclusion initiatives that want to support underrepresented groups and actively seek out diverse talent to fill these goals through Upwork. These badges are a way for talent to show off their certifications and connect with clients. 


We’re hosting a webinar on March 25th at 11am PST to share more details about diversity certification and the process behind it. We are also releasing other educational content around diversity certification over the coming months, so let us know if there are specific topics you would like us to cover.


We encourage our talent in the US who have certifications to add it to their profile. You can do so by clicking the + icon in the “Diversity certification” section of your profile. First, we ask you to provide your business name, Diversity category. Then you’ll provide information on the certification provider, type, certification number, and expiration date. Once all the details are entered and saved, the information will go into manual review for Upwork to validate your certification. 


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Please note: There is a different section of the profile for entering skill-based certifications like AWS, Google AdWords, etc. This has been a point of confusion, so we wanted to clarify these separate areas. 


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By adding your diversity certification information and details, you will receive a badge displayed on your profile visible to Enterprise Suite clients in search both through a “Diversity-Certified” filter and on the search result tiles.


Upwork is currently working with certifying bodies in the United States. We plan to expand to Canada in the coming months. We are starting with the U.S. because the guidelines for diversity certifications are clearly defined for U.S. businesses and we are more familiar with them. 


Here’s a brief history lesson on how diversity certifications began: Supplier Diversity started in the U.S. in the 1960s as part of the American Civil Rights legislation when President John F. Kennedy amended a federal order to take affirmative action into consideration for federal contracting. As this movement continued to grow through the decades and expand into private corporate supplier diversity programs, other countries started to take notice.  Canada pushed their Employment Equity Act in 1986, and the UK implemented a similar statute in 2000 for local governments.


We recognize there are other international certifications, and diversity can be defined differently in every country. That said, we're actively pursuing outreach with third-party organizations to broaden our geographic reach. If you know of a certifying agency in your country, please share it with us so we can look into them.


For additional information, check out our Help center article. 


Community Member
Hi! What about immigrant-owned?
Thank you
Community Member

I can see this causing some freelancers to lose clients that they would have gotten otherwise without the badge.

Community Member

In order to list this, I have to pay for a certification - that really isn't cool. I own my business and I am a woman.... I should be able to list that

Community Member

I guess "Starving Artist" is no longer good enough/acceptable.
God i cant stand this kind of backwards/kill other people's business approaches that

do backfire on someone.


No one ever asked what i looked like or what planet i came from or

what kind of hormones flow thru me and 

I never asked them.


I guess the next draconian "badge" is if you aren't "inspired" to do someones project 

then you'll be terminated. Give it till the end of the year.


Hi Aleksandr,


Thanks for this question. We are looking at providing more resources on how to get certified, and we're also looking at creating networking opportunities within these communities. Our goal is to make sure we have a fair marketplace that is inclusive for all of our users. And we are deeply committed to furthering opportunities on Upwork, including taking steps to identify and reduce potential biases to unlock economic opportunities for diverse businesses on the platform.

Community Member
Imagine you spent your whole life losing on business because of your skin color or gender. It’s amazing what people will post publicly, attached to their name, while blaming diversity initiatives for their lack of business.
Community Member

It seems that UW is trying to capture two areas with a single badge which IMO is highly erroneous.  To my understanding, Diversity-Certified would indicate that an individual or agency has participated in and passed a course in Diversity recognition to reduce/eliminate/remove incorrectly applied criteria in hiring/promotion/conduct etc when interacting with diverse areas of society.


The other side of this argument deals with identifying those freelancers among us who in some way do NOT identify as white anglo saxon male US citizens.  I think it's important for contractors to be selected based on project focused skills, abilities, success rates, and cost to hire rather than their various 'orientations' to gender, age, religion, nationality, minority, or military service.  All else being equal,.language is the only additional consideration as client and contractor must be able to understand each other through the process.  Therefore, I would have no interest in 'applying' for the Diversity Certification as currently described as it is outlined far too broadly and in some areas reveals information that US employers aren't allowed to request and that employees are not required to divulge on an application for employment.  This whole thing really needs to be 'rethought' before it is implemented.

Community Member

Why do you have to have only this specific certification to get the badge? 

Community Member
For those who feel "excluded" because you don't, for lack of a better word, "qualify" for this badge, let's clarify something here:

Whatever work you're completing on the platform, whatever niche you have, and whatever relationships you've developed won't be jeopardized.

The badge is a signal to business either comprised of or targeting these groups that the freelancer is capable of connecting with the business/brand/consumers or what have you.

In this age, created by all of us, especially those of us here working remotely, "authentic voice" can make or break a business.

Minorities, women, and immigrants have been historically disadvantaged. Its a VERY recent development that these communities are able to be this forthcoming. To say it doesn't matter is to ignore that for decades it DID matter to the negative extreme. (In many circles it still does).

There is NO shortage of people hiring NON women, NON immigrants, and NON minorities.
As many of you aptly stated, many don't care either way. Some projects are just projects, and NOT having a diversity badge won't make or break your prospects.

I repeat, for those few businesses looking to ensure equal opportunity with PURPOSE when hiring, the badge is a signal.

When you have proof that your prospects are dropping like flies, that no one is hiring white male writers, that white male writers are being actively shunned and attacked, THEN you can make a statement. If not, this badge doesn't concern you, so don't stress about it.
Community Member

Again, the question is what qualifies as a member of said "groups." Please read my earlier comments. As Jean-Paul Sartre said, "I hate people who call themselves existentialists."

Community Manager

Hi Michelle, 


We recognize there are many other national, state, and local certifications -- this list is not exhaustive. You can choose "I have a different certification" in the meantime. 

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Michelle B wrote:

Why do you have to have only this specific certification to get the badge? 


Community Member

Soooo... would this include a graduate class in intercultural communication as credit for a Master's of Arts in Applied Linguistics. If not, why not?

Community Member

Yep this is a lawsuit waiting to happen,,

Community Member

I love this so much. For all the naysayers **Edited for Community Guidelines**, keep in mind there is a man-made hierarchy of power within this world, with black women being the most marginalized.

Community Member
How will Upwork be monitoring this to assure these badges aren’t also used to discriminate as well as promote diversity?