Co-operative comes out top in Stonewall survey

Kate McCann
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THE CO-OPERATIVE has scooped top spot in a Stonewall study into how well private sector employers support gay, lesbian and bisexual staff.

The research, which saw housing company Gentoo named overall top employer when including both the public and private sectors, also praised Accenture, EY and IBM for their engagement, support and attitude towards sexuality at work.

Chief executive of Stonewall Ben Summerskill said the rankings prove that people perform better when they can be themselves at work. “Participation in Stonewall’s index sends a powerful signal of an organisation’s commitment to its most vital resource, its people,” he said, adding: “Put simply, improving the working environment for gay staff makes good business sense.”

The campaigning charity conducted research into Britain’s top employers for gay staff, based on a number of key criteria including staff training and monitoring. The index is now in its tenth year.

Overall, local government claimed the top performing sector prize, with professional services and finance coming in a healthy second and fifth place respectively. In total, 38 different industries entered the index, with 100 making up the top employers list.

The Co-operative came third overall and topped the list of private sector employers, Barclays crept in to the overall rankings in tenth place, taking sixth place in the table of private employers.

Stonewall handed out special mentions to a number of diversity champions, including Andy Woodfield, head of international development consulting at PwC, who was awarded senior champion of the year. Woodfield was singled out for his work to make PwC the most inclusive employer in the professional services industry. “I am passionate about driving change and making sure everyone in our firm values difference. I feel very lucky to work with a great team at PwC building our Glee@PwC inclusive business network for gays, lesbians and everyone else,” he said, adding: “We now have over 700 external and 450 internal members. We’ve had a fantastic response from our firm, our clients and other firms.”

The Ministry of Defence was awarded most improved employer of the year, an organisation with around 50,000 staff. Stonewall praised the government department’s choice to advertise in ‘pink media’, as well as sponsoring the Gay & Lesbian Youth in Northern Ireland.

Global Employer of the Year went to IBM, whose vice-president Claudia Brind-Woody said the company’s focus on LGBT allows it to attract and retain the best talent around the world.


1 The Co-operative
2 Accenture
3 EY
5 Simmons & Simmons
6 Barclays
7 Morgan Stanley
8 Lloyds Banking Group
9 Baker & McKenzie LLP
10 CMS Cameron McKenna