Here are the top companies for LGBTI+ employees in South Africa


This year’s South African Workplace Equality Index (SAWEI) has revealed the most welcoming companies for LGBTI+ employees to work for in South Africa.

The SAWEI is the continent’s only index measuring levels of LGBTI+ inclusion in the workplace, and sits alongside similar indices in Australia, Hong Kong, the USA, UK and Canada

This year, 27 South African corporates and multinationals (up from 16 last year) voluntarily took part in the index, collectively employing 143,834 people across four provinces. Of these, six companies were awarded the top gold tiering, six companies were silver tiered and five were bronze tiered.

The leading tiered companies (gold) include Accenture South Africa, Bain & Company, EY, Microsoft, P&G and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The silver-rated companies feature Baker McKenzie, Dalberg, Norton Rose Fulbright, SAP Africa, and Vodacom.

SAWEI is collated by the South African LGBTI+ Management Forum (The Forum), an umbrella organisation for professional LGBTI+ employee network groups. The index provides companies in South Africa with a means to measure their progress against independently determined and research-based best practice regarding LGBTI+ inclusion.

“We’re really thrilled at the growth of the SAWEI this year which indicates commitment from South African companies to better understand these issues and create safer, more productive work environments for their employees,” said Thandi Masuku, Director of the Forum. “While our numbers and geographies of reach grew this year, our vision is to grow this index to include other large employers in future.”

Some key observations from the Index include:

  • Nearly all companies taking part last year improved their score, demonstrating the impact that SAWEI is already having
  • The lowest-scoring section continues to be on the visibility of LGBT+ role models in companies
  • Nearly all companies have some form of anti-discrimination policy on the basis of sexual orientation
  • There continued to be poor clarity on the difference between gender and gender identity, with few companies explicit accounting for gender identity in their policies
  • Explicit policies protecting LGBT+ people in hostile regions continue to be a key differentiator of high performing companies
  • The majority of participants had some form of LGBT+ network/resource group, with most having an “allies” programme; these networks are highly active and engaging with their companies
  • Once again, the greatest divergence in SAWEI scores occurred with regards to the inclusion of LGBT+ within Employment Equity (EE) forums, with nearly half explicitly including LGBT+ representation and half not

For more information, visit the Forum website.

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