The evidence is clear: organisations with LGBT diversity beat competitors. Diversity is also a strong selling point for job seekers, with two-thirds reporting that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. (1)
The LGBT charity, Stonewall, recently announced the UK’s 2018 top 100 employers for LGBT equality. The list is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a benchmarking tool for employers to assess their achievements and progress on LGBT equality. Representing the public, private and third sectors, 434 organisations submitted entries to the 2018 Index.
And for the first time, the Index also rated how British organisations promote trans equality in the workplace. A recent report by Stonewall revealed half of trans people hide their identity at work for fear of discrimination.
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive at Stonewall, said, “Creating a workplace environment that accepts everyone isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes good business sense. When staff feel comfortable, happy and understood they will, of course, perform much better than if they’re having to hide who they are, or if they’re scared to go to work for fear of abuse.”
The top 10 employers for LGBT workplace equality are:
What They Do: The National Assembly for Wales is the democratically elected body that represents the interests of Wales and its people, makes laws for Wales, and holds the Welsh Government to account.
Inclusivity Details: Claiming the top spot on Stonewall’s list, the National Assembly for Wales is a trailblazer for LGBT equality, especially for trans equality. It introduced a raft of measures for trans and non-binary employees such as offering the gender-neutral Mx title, as well as gender neutral toilets and shower facilities.
Senior leaders promote LGBT equality throughout the organisation and LGBT network, OUT-NAW, which provides coaching and mentoring for members and allies. The Assembly collaborates with Welsh organisations and LGBT youth groups to foster LGBT equality and share best practice. They sponsor and support LGBT community groups and events by hosting on their premises for free.
What Employees Say: “Great pension plan and other benefits, lots of holiday, hours can be flexible, great career job that you can get into young, decent canteen, great mix of relaxed and busy, lots of great friendly people working there.” – Former Senior Research Officer
What They Do: A full-service law firm. “Our biased view is that legal services at all times should underpin the clients’ needs and business objectives. We are dedicated to tipping the scales in your favour. Making sure you win – whether that’s in Court or in your marketplace.”
Inclusivity Details: “Over the last few years we’ve been working hard to make sure our firm promotes and encourages trans and non-binary gender equality, and have taken steps such as rolling out training for HR and front of house staff, introducing an option for employees and clients to use the gender-neutral Mx title, as well as setting up a working group to consider changes we can make to our facilities and work spaces to be more inclusive of all gender identities. It’s something that will continue to be a focus for our LGBT and Allies network throughout 2018.” – Kate Fergusson, Head of Responsible Business at Pinsent Masons
What Employees Say: “Good work-life balance, and opportunities for training. The partners respect each employee, no matter how junior, as a person, and are open to listening to feedback. Strong company values.” – Current Employee
3. Gentoo Group
What They Do: Gentoo is a housing association that owns and manages more than 29,000 homes in Sunderland.
Inclusivity Details: “We’ve been successfully engaging our LGBT customers to help make improvements to the services we deliver and to improve inclusivity – as at Gentoo we believe that inclusive communities are stronger. We’ve also been named as one of Stonewall’s Top Trans Inclusive Employers, by going above and beyond other organisations to ensure trans and non-binary colleagues feel included in the workplace. Some of our positive trans inclusive work has included establishing a coffee morning and meeting place for trans customers and journey mapping with customers to help them to improve their services. Gentoo has also developed a set of trans inclusion guiding principles to accompany their policies and have started training/conversations with staff about why trans inclusion matters.” – Lucy Malarkey, Deputy Director at Gentoo
What Employees Say: “We had a good holiday scheme, good flexi and great staff to work with and ask for assistance.” – Former contractor
What They Do: “We work 24 hours a day to keep Cheshire safe from fires and other emergencies.”
Inclusivity Details: CFRS has robust policies that engage all staff in LGBT inclusion. LGBT youth ambassadors support LGBT and diversity training for team leaders and staff working with young people. They address the safety risks faced by LGBT people in the community, especially those who live alone, those aged over 65 and young people.
What Employees Say: “Serving the local community feels fantastic. During the best of times, you felt like you were making a difference and doing something worthwhile. I saved a couple of lives, one on the telephone and one on a community engagement day.” – Former Administrative Manager
What They Do: “Lloyds Banking Group is the UK’s largest financial services group with over 30 million customers, and a presence in nearly every community.”
Inclusivity Details: Lloyds launched a new colleague volunteering programme, forming official partnerships with various LGBT charities, volunteering over 1,000 hours and raising £30,000 for them throughout the year. They also support Bi Awareness Day and Transgender Day of Visibility, with new training tools, social media campaigns and by flying the bisexual flag and transgender flags at 35 of their key sites.
What Employees Say: “Progressive bank with a real passion for colleagues and changing the lives of UK citizens for the better. Great business model and a real understanding of pivoting digital technology into the business.” – Current Executive Director
What They Do: Multinational law firm that offers “clients and talent both the uncompromising commitment to excellence expected of a top firm and a distinctive way of thinking, working and behaving — as a passionately global and genuinely collaborative firm.”
Inclusivity Details: Staff involvement in diversity issues is encouraged through focus groups and activities such as an Allies network. The firm also supports LGBT community groups, including The Albert Kennedy Trust and The London Gay Men’s Chorus.
Chair of Baker McKenzie’s Global LGBT initiative and London IT/Commercial partner, Harry Small, was awarded Stonewall’s highly prestigious Global Senior Champion Award for promoting LGBT workplace equality.
What Employees Say: “Baker McKenzie prides itself on diversity while also maintaining a very strong market share in all of its sectors.” – Current Brand Ambassador
What They Do: “We are an award-winning, international law firm. Clients, including over 50 Global Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies, rely on our expertise in 70 legal disciplines and have worked with us in 130 countries.”
Inclusivity Details: BLP’s Inclusivity strategy has five areas of focus: Culture, Family, Gender Representation, Lesbian Gay, Bisexual & Transgender and Social Inclusion & Ethnicity. In just two years, BLP has leaped 218 places on Stonewall’s list.
What Employees Say: “BLP is a very inclusive, diverse place to work where the staff is friendly and welcoming. There are also lots of fun activities to get involved in. I would highly recommend this employer.” – Former Employee
What They Do: “Citi’s mission is to serve as a trusted partner to our clients by responsibly providing financial services that enable growth and economic progress. Our core activities are safeguarding assets, lending money, making payments and accessing the capital markets on behalf of our clients.”
Inclusivity Details: In the UK, Citi is a founding member of the Stonewall Global Diversity Champions Group and also of the Inside and Out Banking Recruitment Event. They also sponsor the London Pride Parade and its Gala dinner. In the US, Citi was one of the first financial institutions to sign the Amicus brief for marriage equality.
Stonewall also recognised Clare Eastburn, global head of operational regulatory change and co-chair for Citi Pride London, as their Bi Role Model of the Year. Eastburn said, “Everyone needs role models in life, but I think we all have a responsibility to make our workplaces and our communities more accepting so that everyone can thrive. I’m lucky to work at an organisation as supportive as Citi, where inclusion is such an important part of our culture and where we are continually striving to do more.”
What Employees Say: “Good Work-Life Balance. Excellent team work and fantastic culture.” – Current Employee
What They Do: Newcastle City Council is a local authority for the metropolitan borough of Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England.
Inclusivity Details: “This is our highest position to date and we are honoured to be ranked as one of the top 10 most LGBT friendly organisations in the country. We have clearly demonstrated that equality is at the heart of our values and I am so proud of our staff who have worked tirelessly to make a real difference to people’s lives. We will be doing our best to improve our ranking even further in the future.” – Newcastle City Council Leader, Nick Forbes
What Employees Say: “Flexible, work life balance, working environment, looking after staff.” – Current Policy and Communication Business Partner
10. Victim Support
What They Do: Victim Support is an independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales.
Inclusivity Details: “Within the past 12 months we have provided staff training to promote awareness of LGBT issues and enhanced our policy and practice to support victims of hate crime among a range of other measures. We also continue to have a LGBT network to give advice and support, and address any issues facing our staff and volunteers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans.”- Lucy Hastings, Director and LGBT senior champion at Victim Support
What Employees Say: “Staff and volunteers work together and will help in any way they can. Great training opportunities and great satisfaction in helping people.” – Current Employee
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(1) Glassdoor site survey, June 2014