Stonewall has said it is the first time a local authority has been named the best LGBT employer in the 16 years it has published the annual list.
The top 10 list comprises companies from a broad range of sectors, including the Cheshire fire and rescue service, last year’s winner, the law firm Pinsent Masons, the Ministry of Justice, Citi, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Welsh government.
Other companies and organisations to make the list include the foreign intelligence service MI6 – – but not its domestic counterpart, MI5, which has appeared in the top five several times in recent years and topped the list in 2016 – the House of Lords and the British army.
The record 503 submissions Stonewall received from companies wanting to make the list is a reflection of how equality in the workplace has increasingly become a corporate imperative.
Sainsbury’s made its debut at No 71 and was the only high street retailer or supermarket to make the top 100.
Channel 4 entered at No 35, which follows a significant focus on improving diversity and equality under the leadership of the chief executive, Alex Mahon. Sky, the only media organisation to make the list in 2018 and 2019, rose 35 places to rank at No 28 this year, making it the leader in the media sector.
“We spend most of our lives at work so getting workplace inclusion right makes a huge difference in the lives of so many LGBT people,” said Sanjay Sood-Smith, an executive director at Stonewall. “Every year, our list of the top 100 employers shows us who’s leading the way when it comes to creating a work environment where LGBT people can thrive and be themselves in the UK.”
For the second year running, education is the sector with the most organisations appearing in the list, at 16, with Cardiff University ranking highest, in 10th, and the multimedia learning and publishing group Pearson debuting at No 80. The legal sector has 15 firms in the top 100.
Stonewall has also acknowledged the UK’s top trans-inclusive employers – those it says have “gone above and beyond to ensure trans staff feel accepted”.
The unranked 20-strong list includes Aviva, Bury council, the Department for International Trade, Homes England, the real estate advisers JLL, the solicitors Leigh Day, Skills Development Scotland, the University of Sheffield, the law firm Travers Smith, the University of South Wales Group, Victim Support and York St John University.
Stonewall’s top 10 LGBT employers in the UK 2020
1. Newcastle city council (2019: 5th equal)
2. Gentoo Group (–)
3. Cheshire fire and rescue service (3)
4. Pinsent Masons (1)
5. Ministry of Justice (12)
6. GSK (24)
7. Citi (9)
8. National assembly for Wales (5 =)
9. Welsh government (8)
10. Cardiff University (11)