Newcastle City Council leads Stonewall’s top LGBT-inclusive employer list
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Newcastle City Council leads Stonewall’s top LGBT-inclusive employer list

  • Newcastle City Council is first ever local authority to claim number one spot

  • Education, legal and government dominate Top 100

  • Most competitive Top 100 ever with 503 submissions

Newcastle City Council has been revealed to be the most inclusive employer in the UK by lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall in its 2020 Top 100 Employers list. The council has become the first local authority to ever reach the pole position since Stonewall started its annual ranking back sixteen years ago.

The council, who came fifth in the 2019 list and has been the highest-ranking local authority for the last three years, claimed the top spot this year for their commitment to equality. LGBT inclusion is embedded across all areas of their work, from employee HR policies to recruitment processes and all internal communications.

Newcastle City Council ran numerous events over the year, including their ‘7 days of Pride’ campaign, supporting and highlighting the LGBT community in the run up to Newcastle Pride. They also put on events to mark other visibility days such as Bi Visibility Day, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) and Trans Day of Remembrance.

Cllr Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: ‘I’m incredibly proud that our commitment to inclusivity has been recognised with this accolade, and it is a fantastic achievement for us to be the first local authority to be named as Stonewall’s Employer of the Year.

‘But this is really an award for everybody in our city who shows us every day that we are all equal and that our great city accepts everyone. Newcastle is a safe and welcoming city and the North East in general does a great deal to champion the LGBT community. We are all eagerly anticipating the fantastic opportunity to demonstrate this by being the host city for UK Pride 2020.

‘It is part of the core values of Newcastle City Council that we are all equal and I would like to thank all our amazing staff for putting these beliefs into practice and creating an outstanding workplace where everybody feels comfortable to be who they are.’

Housing association Gentoo Group came in second place, followed by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (3 in 2019).

The Top 100 is the UK’s leading list ranking employers from public, private and third sectors on how inclusive their workplaces are and is intensively competitive – with more than 500 organisations vying for a place this year.

Law firm DWF received special commendation as this year’s Bi-Inclusive Employer of the Year. DWF hosted a bi inclusion seminar for all staff, supported Bi Visibility Day and shared resources with staff about the barriers bi people face. Stonewall research shows why bi inclusion is needed with half of bi men (49 per cent) and a third of bi women (34 per cent) hiding their identity at work, compared to seven per cent of gay men and four per cent of lesbians.

Stephen Miles, CEO of Commercial Services and Executive Sponsor of LGBT+ Inclusion at DWF said: ‘It’s hugely important to us that everyone feels that they can be themselves at DWF. That’s why we're delighted to win the Bi-Inclusive Employer of the Year Award this year, highlighting our work to prioritise bi inclusion across the business.

‘We’re proud of the work our LGBT network have done in partnership with the wider organisation ensuring that all of our policies and processes are bi inclusive, and to improve bi visibility internally. Over the past year, we celebrated Bi Visibility Day, profiled bi role models across the business to create opportunities to tell their stories and equipped all our staff to challenge bi-phobic or bi-erasive behavior, both in and outside of the office.

‘Bi people still face particular difficulties at work, with many bi people not feeling able to bring their full selves to work. We’d encourage every organisation to take steps to support their bi staff, as well as their lesbian, gay and trans staff, to make their work environments welcoming to everyone.’

Education is most featured sector again

For the second year running, education organisations have come top of the class in this year’s Top 100, with 16 making the list. Cardiff University was the sector’s highest achiever, coming in at ten, while Pearson, Britain’s multinational publishing company, made its debut at 80.

The legal sector came a close second with 15 firms on the list, including last year’s winner Pinsent Masons at position 4. Two legal organisations are making their first appearance on the Top 100 this year: Mayer Brown International LLP (64) and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (93).

Elsewhere in the Top 100, Sky has soared to 28, while Channel 4 lands at 35 in its debut. Sainsbury’s is Britain’s only supermarket on this year’s Top 100, coming in at 71. 

2020’s top trans-inclusive employers

For the third year running, Stonewall has given special recognition to companies who have gone above and beyond to ensure trans staff feel accepted. This year’s list includes last year’s number one employer, Pinsent Masons, along with Victim Support, Skills Development Scotland and the Department for International Trade. Read the full list.

This comes as trans people continue to face worrying levels of abuse across all areas of their lives. Shockingly, one in eight trans employees (12 per cent) have been physically attacked by a colleague or customer in the last year. 

More employers than ever are taking LGBT inclusion seriously

LGBT people of all ages can face discrimination and abuse when both looking for work and once they are in the workplace.

Research by Stonewall demonstrates why it’s important increasing numbers of employers are creating inclusive workplaces. More than a third of LGBT people (35 per cent) looking for work are worried about being discriminated against or harassed because of who they are. Meanwhile, one in five LGBT staff (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments from colleagues.

This year, more companies than ever showed their commitment to LGBT inclusion with 503 companies hoping for a coveted spot on the 2020 Top 100 list.

Each year, Stonewall also names individuals and network groups who have made an outstanding contribution to LGBT inclusion in their workplace. This year, Laila El-Metoui received the accolade of Stonewall’s Lesbian Role Model of the Year for her work in the Tower Hamlets Council, and as co-chair of their LGBT Network. See the full list of award winners.

Laila said: ‘Having positive role models in your life gives you hope. It can inspire you to achieve. I was and I am still inspired by my own role models.  I hope to encourage people to be the change they want to see.’  

Sanjay Sood-Smith, Stonewall’s Executive Director, said: ‘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. Every year, our list of the Top 100 employers show 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.  

‘Newcastle City Council is paving the way for others to follow when it comes to putting LGBT inclusion and equality at the heart of their workplace. When staff feel comfortable, happy and understood, they will perform much better than if they’re having to hide who they are, or if they’re scared to go to work for fear of abuse.  

‘Whether you’re a global corporation or a local business, you have the power to protect and support LGBT people with accepting workplace environments where staff can bring their full selves to work. The more organisations that stand up for equality, the sooner we will live in a world where all LGBT people are accepted without exception.’   

In compiling the Top 100, Stonewall surveys staff of the employers who submit to the Workplace Equality Index and collects more than 109,000 anonymous responses on staff experience of the UKs workplace culture and diversity. This year, an encouraging 81 per cent of LGBT employees who responded to the survey said they feel able to be themselves in the workplace.

See the full results of the Top 100 Employers.