Spy agency MI5 named top employer for LGBT equality in Britain

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 18, 2016 7:02 PM

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain's domestic spy service, MI5, was named on Tuesday as the best employer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in a nationwide workplace equality index, followed by Lloyds Banking Group and the National Assembly for Wales.

The Top 100 Employers list by the equality charity Stonewall ranks organizations in Britain based on answers from employees about culture, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

"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," Ruth Hunt, Stonewall's chief executive, said in a statement.

According to the survey, only 27 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual people felt comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation to colleagues and customers.

Less than half of transgender people said they saw a visible commitment to trans equality at work from senior leaders.

More than 50 percent of respondents said there were gay role models at work, but only 11 percent saw bisexual role models.

"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," Hunt said.

MI5 Director General Andrew Parker said diversity was vital for the organization as it allowed the intelligence agency to use the skills of the best people.

"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," Parker said in a statement.

According to the survey, the majority of lesbian, gay and bisexual respondents who revealed their sexuality at work experienced greater job satisfaction and a higher sense of achievement.

More than 60,000 employees from over 400 organizations took part in the 12th annual survey which serves as a tool for employers to evaluate their progress on LGBT equality.

The legal and housing sectors dominated the top 10 places on the index, while Wales and the East Midlands had the most organizations outside of London featured on the list.

(Reporting by Magdalena Mis; Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)