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One-in-three in FTSE 100 don’t mention LGBT+ in annual reports

Suki Sandhu

Analysis has found that over one-third of FTSE 100 companies don’t mention LGBT+ in their latest annual reports. Contributor Suki Sandhu, Founder & CEO – OUTstanding & Involve.

The research from INvolve shows how much more work there is to be done, however it highlights that 65 percent do mention LGBT+ in their latest annual reports. This is an encouraging jump not only in the number of FTSE 100 companies talking about LGBT+ diversity and inclusion compared to the 2014 annual reports, but also in the detail of support for LGBT+ employees. Five years ago only 53 percent were mentioning LGBT+ in their annual reports; this has now increased to 65 percent. 

Annual reports are an important indication of the wider issues and initiatives that large companies see as a priority. Of the annual reports analysed; GSK, Barclays and Pearson outperformed the other FTSE 100 companies when it came to representing LGBT+ diversity and inclusion. For example, in 2018 Pearson updated all its school textbooks to be LGBT+ inclusive, GSK pledged its support for the UN LGBTI Global Business Standards, as well as its LGBT+ group being recognised as ‘Employee Network Group of the Year’, and Barclays sponsored and took part in over 25 Pride celebrations around the UK. 

Liz Burton, Global Head, Inclusion and Diversity at GSK says,We’re delighted to be recognised by INvolve for our work focusing on LGBT+ inclusion. At GSK we take pride in championing inclusion and diversity through our culture, our values and the global policies we have in place to protect employees from discrimination on the grounds of their sexual orientation and gender identity. This is embodied through the work of our Spectrum employee network, allies and the strategic input of our global LGBT+ Council which ensures LGBT+ inclusion isn’t just what we say, but also what we do.”

Drawing attention to LGBT+ role models within an organisation demonstrates that LGBT+ employees are championed and supported in the workplace.  However only 2 percent of the FTSE 100 companies mention LGBT+ role models in their annual reports. This reinforces the need for companies to celebrate their LGBT+ role models and demonstrate to their stakeholders and the public that LGBT+ diversity and inclusion is an important factor in their on-going business success.

Current research supports the work that needs to be done by companies: 17 percent of FTSE 100 companies who changed their twitter logos for pride month have no mentions of LGBT+ in their annual report]. Only 3 percent of the FTSE 100 lay out specific targets for LGBT+ employees; 7 in 10 LGBT+ employees in Britain have experienced sexual harassment at work. The pay gap by sexual orientation results in lost output worth up to £2 billion

An increasing body of research supports the idea that being more inclusive makes business sense. Research by INvolve and the Cebr found that: The UK’s most diverse workplaces (across gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation) are 45 percent more likely to financially outperform their industry average than the least diverse firms.

Those firms with the most developed diversity policy are 54 percent more likely to financially outperform their national industry mean than those with the weakest diversity policies in place. 

2019 marks the seventh year of the OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists. The lists showcase business leaders and allies, across both the private and public sectors, who are breaking down barriers and creating more inclusive workplaces globally. Despite progress in some countries, many LGBT+ professionals still experience obstacles in their careers and feel they cannot be successful while also being true to their authentic selves. 

Suki Sandhu, Founder & CEO, OUTstanding & INvolve, says, “Annual reports are of huge importance for FTSE 100 companies as it is their chance to highlight the key issues and initiatives that they are focusing on. To see that LGBT+ diversity and inclusion is not just celebrated during Pride but is an increasing part of companies’ annual reports is a great step forward. Yet this research also highlights the other 35 percent of FTSE 100 companies who are not being loud and proud about LGBT+ diversity and inclusion in their annual reports. “Our OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists challenge the idea that you can’t be successful and out at work, whilst inspiring the next generation of LGBT+ leaders and allies. We encourage leaders across all types and sizes of company to nominate and use their voice and influence to help create a more diverse and equal workplace where LGBT+ employees can be comfortable being their authentic selves.”

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