Spy agency MI5 Britain’s most LGBT-friendly employer

MI5 says diversity is 'vital' as it prioritises talent and skills above everything else, regardless of employees' sexual orientation.

By: Reuters | London | Updated: January 19, 2016 2:10 pm
LGBT, MI5, Britain. spy agency, intelligence, stonewall, housing sector, legal sector, London, diversity, lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, sexual orientation, inclusion, talent, skills “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,” said MI5’s Director General. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Britain’s domestic spy service — MI5 — was named on January 19 as the best employer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in a nationwide workplace equality index.

The Top 100 Employers list by the equality charity Stonewall ranks organisations in Britain based on answers from employees about culture, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“We’re thrilled to see such a commitment to lesbian, gay, bi and trans colleagues, but we also know that there is still lots to do,” Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s chief executive, said in a statement.

According to the survey, only 27 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual people felt comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation to colleagues and customers. Less than half of transgender people said they saw a visible commitment to trans equality at work from senior leaders. More than 50 per cent of respondents said there were gay role models at work, but only 11 per cent saw bisexual role models.

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“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,” Hunt said.

MI5 Director General Andrew Parker said diversity was vital for the organisation as it allowed the intelligence agency to use the skills of the best people. “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,” Parker said in a statement.

According to the survey, the majority of lesbian, gay and bisexual respondents who revealed their sexuality at work experienced greater job satisfaction and a higher sense of achievement.

More than 60,000 employees from over 400 organisations took part in the 12th annual survey which serves as a tool for employers to evaluate their progress on LGBT equality.

The legal and housing sectors dominated the top 10 places on the index, while Wales and the East Midlands had the most organisations outside of London featured on the list.

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