Inclusive employers include MI5, Lloyds Banking Group and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Leading LGBT charity Stonewall reveals law firm Pinsent Masons has been named the most inclusive employer in the UK in their Top 100 Employers list for 2019.

The Top 100 is the UK’s leading list ranking employers from across public, private and third sectors on how inclusive their workplaces are and is intensely competitive – with this year seeing more entrants than ever before.

A new trend in this year’s Top 100 sees a significant rise in universities named as inclusive employers, with 18 organisations working in the higher education sector making the 2019 list.

Pinsent Masons was the first employer in the legal sector to work with Stonewall, demonstrating a range of inclusive policies and practices for LGB staff, and has since introduced specific trans-inclusive staff training to create a welcoming environment for trans colleagues, clients and visitors.

“This is a very special achievement for us,” said Richard Foley, Senior Partner at Pinsent Masons. “It isn’t about reaching the top spot; it’s about what the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index stands for and what everyone engaged in it is working so hard to accomplish.

“Pinsent Masons was the first law firm to be ranked in the Index in 2008. Today the legal sector is represented by 16 firms. Our ranking recognises that like many other organisations we are championing LGBT+ inclusion in everything that we do.

“We have a responsibility to champion change in the wider community.”

Higher education is the best performing sector

As higher education organisations dominated this year’s Top 100, Cardiff University came top of the class at number 11. The sector’s strong performance was buoyed by seven new entries to the Top 100, including the University of South Wales (43) and the University of Brighton (72).

Higher education’s strong commitment to LGBT inclusion is a powerful positive symbol of the progress being made towards equality. Stonewall’s 2018 University Report shows why this work is needed with two in five LGBT students (42%) saying they’ve hidden their identity at university for fear of discrimination.

2019’s Top trans-inclusive employers

Stonewall gave special commendation to the UK’s top-trans inclusive employers, including Pinsent Masons, Victim Support, Skills Development Scotland and the National Assembly for Wales; employers who have gone above and beyond to ensure trans staff feel accepted.

This comes as trans people continue to face worrying levels of abuse in both their private lives and in the public sphere. Shockingly, one in eight trans employees (12%) have been physically attacked by a colleague or customer in the last year.

Outstanding contributions

Each year, Stonewall also names individuals and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to LGBT inclusion in their workplace. Senior Champion of the Year was awarded to Jonathan Slater, the Department for Education’s Permanent Secretary.

“I am absolutely delighted to have won the Stonewall Senior Champion of the Year award,” Slater commented.

“I am proud of what we have done in the Department for Education and am very grateful for the dedication and support of the LGBT+ network, my leadership team, and individuals in the Department who have gone above and beyond to make it an inclusive place to work.

“There’s plenty more to do, and I will keep championing the rights of staff to be themselves.”

Last year, Stonewall released research that showed more than a third of LGBT staff have hidden they are LGBT at work and almost one in five LGBT employees have been the target of negative comments from colleagues because of their identity.

Darren Towers, Stonewall’s Executive Director, responded to the research: “Stonewall was set up 30 years ago to fight against the introduction of Section 28 – a vicious piece of legislation that banned local authorities from ‘promoting homosexuality’.

“To now see higher education institutions dominating the Top 100 for the first time shows not just how far we’ve come, but also sends a really positive message for the future.

“LGBT-inclusive employers play a crucial role in changing society by using their power and influence to proudly support LGBT people in their organisations. Whether as senior leaders, managers or colleagues, we all have a part to play in making sure that our workplaces and communities are places that accept and support LGBT people, without exception.”

In compiling the Top 100, Stonewall collects more than 92,000 anonymous responses from employees on their experience of the UK’s workplace culture and diversity.

An overwhelming 93 per cent of non-LGBT employees who responded to the survey say they understand why their employer is committed to LGBT equality. Great news, don’t you think?

Full results of the Top 100 Employers list can be found here.

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