The secret is out! Intelligence agency MI5 has been named the most LGBT-friendly employer in an assessment of LGBT equality in the UK workplace.
According to LGBT group Stonewall, which compiles the annual list, the agency took the top spot this year, up from seventh in 2015.
Ironically, prior to 1990, MI5 would not even employ gay and lesbian staff as they were considered to be at high risk of blackmail.
In second place was Lloyds Banking Group (third 2015), closely followed by the National Assembly for Wales in third (fourth 2015).
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.
“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,” commented Andrew Parker, Director-General of MI5.
Ruth Hunt, Stonewall Chief Executive, added: “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.”
More than 60,000 staff from across the 400 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 revealed 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
- 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