Today MI5 was named as number one in Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers list for 2016, up from seventh in 2015. In second place was Lloyds Banking Group (third 2015), closely followed by the National Assembly for Wales in third (fourth 2015). The Top 100 Employers list, created by lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) equality charity Stonewall, is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a powerful benchmarking tool used by employers to assess their achievements and progress on LGBT equality in the workplace.
This year saw over 400 organisations take part in the Index, the highest number in its 12 year history. Each participant must demonstrate their expertise in 10 distinct areas of employment policy and practice, including networking groups, career development, training and community engagement. More than 60,000 staff from across these organisations also took part in an anonymous survey about their employers’ attitudes towards workplace culture, diversity and inclusion, making it one of the largest national employment surveys in Britain. Responses to this survey reveal that: Only 27 per cent of lesbian, gay and bi people feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation to all colleagues and customers. Figures were lower for lesbians (23 per cent) than gay men (33 per cent), and considerably lower for bi individuals (12 per cent).
People who are out as LGB at work experience better job satisfaction and have a higher sense of achievement, according to 67 per cent of lesbian, gay and bi people. We need to see more visible LGBT role models. Just 11 per cent of respondents believe there are bi role models at work; 19 per cent see trans role models, 42 per cent see lesbian role models and 53 per cent see gay role models at work. Senior leaders are showing more commitment to lesbian, gay and bi equality now (63 per cent) than in the previous year (53 per cent). Just 42 per cent of trans respondents said that senior leaders demonstrate a visible commitment to trans equality at work. Organisations from the legal and housing sectors dominate the Top 10 on the Index, and across the Top 100, local government, education and health and social care are the most featured sectors. Outside of London, Wales and the East Midlands have the most organisations featured in this year’s Index (12 and nine respectively).
Commenting on taking the number one spot, Andrew Parker, Director-General, MI5 said: ‘Diversity is vital for MI5, not just because it’s right that we represent the communities we serve, but because we rely on the skills of the most talented people whoever they are, and wherever they may be. This accolade from Stonewall is a great acknowledgment of the continued progress we have made over recent years in ensuring we draw on the widest possible pool of talent in our vital work.’ Ruth Hunt, Stonewall Chief Executive, said: ‘MI5 have made fantastic strides in creating an inclusive workplace, and have now appeared on the Stonewall Top 100 Employers list since 2012. This is an amazing achievement and demonstrates just how seriously diversity and inclusion is taken. I’d also like to thank all of those organisations that took part in Stonewall’s 2016 Workplace Equality Index, and congratulate our Top 100 and award winners. We’re thrilled to see such a commitment to lesbian, gay, bi and trans colleagues, but we also know that there is still lots to do.
‘Those organisations that are ‘getting it right’ are not only improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff, stakeholders, clients and customers, but are also reaping business benefits. We know that people perform better when they can be themselves, and it’s been proven that diversity among staff leads to a more productive, positive and creative workplace environment. ‘Stonewall looks forward to working with all of those organisations and others in the year ahead, to work towards a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff feel equal at work and are accepted without exception.’
For the first time, the Workplace Equality Index asked questions specifically about policies related to trans people, as the first step towards organisations being marked and measured on their commitment to trans equality in the workplace. Information gathered from these questions will produce resources which will be released during 2016 to reflect best practice, allowing organisational change to be monitored via the 2017 Index. Organisations will be formally marked on their trans policies from 2018.
The top performing organisations in each sector are:
- Defence and Security: MI5 (1)
- Banking and Finance: Lloyds Banking Group (2)
- Education: Cardiff University (20)
- Emergency Services: Cheshire Fire & Rescue (13)
- Energy: BP (43)
- Government: National Assembly for Wales (3)
- Health and Social Care: Golden Jubilee Foundation (29)
- Housing: B3 Living (4)
- Insurance: Aviva (46)
- Legal: Pinsent Masons (5)
- Local Government: Leicestershire County Council (7)
- Media: Creative Skillset (20)
- Professional Services: PwC (11)
- Retail: The Cooperative Group (72)
- Third Sector: Victim Support (13)
Stonewall also named a number of individuals as its 2016 award winners for their contribution to progressing equality within their organisations: Senior Champion of the Year* was awarded to Lloyds Banking Group’s Group Director Karin Cook. Ally of the Year* went to Justine Thompson, Senior Manager for Diversity and Inclusion at Baker & McKenzie
Role Model of the Year* was awarded to David Ali, a caretaker at Tower Hamlets Homes
LGBT employee Network Group of the Year was given to St Mungo’s, the homeless charity
Nine organisations that have ‘graduated’ the Workplace Equality Index hold Star Performer status. You must rank in the Top 10 of the Index three times within five consecutive years to qualify as a Stonewall Star Performer. Currently, nine organisations are part of the Star Performers programme: Accenture, Barclays, EY, Gentoo, Goldman Sachs, Home Office, IBM, Simmons & Simmons and the top performing employer from 2015, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.