‘Gay-friendly’ employer list: Man Uni, Co-op and Bury Council land top 100 spots

Three big names across Greater Manchester have been hailed as gay-friendly employers by an LGBT charity.

The University of Manchester (43rd), the Co-operative (26th) and Bury Council (62nd) scooped spots in Stonewall’s top 100 gay-friendly places to work in the UK.

Their 2015 Workplace Equality Index assesses factors such as employee policy, training and career development.

A Co-operative Group spokeman said: “Taking part in the Stonewall Index is important, as it allows us to measure against other organisations how we are doing on providing a supportive and inclusive working environment for LGBT colleagues.”

The University of Manchester made the top five education organisations for prospective gay or lesbian employees.  It now ranks third among universities in the UK.

Patrick Johnson, Head of Equality and Diversity at The University of Manchester, said: “We are delighted that this year we have risen to 43rd in Stonewall’s National Workplace Equality Index – a jump of 115 places on last year.

“Given that the number of companies and organisations entering increases year on year, this is a great achievement, and ranks Manchester third among universities in the index. 

“This remarkable improvement is testament to the creativeness, support and enthusiasm from all areas of the University and reflects the hard work of the LGBT Staff Network Group, sending a positive message of inclusion, not only to existing staff and students, but also to potential employees, future students and the wider public.”

Participation in the index, now in its 11th year, means companies are benchmarked on how they capitalise on the strengths of a diverse workforce.

Alex Gwynne, Client Account Manager at Stonewall, said: “It is fantastic to see the North West score highest as the region where most lesbian, gay and bisexual employees say they’re comfortable to be out at work in the 2015 Workplace Equality Index, with the University of Manchester, Cheshire Fire & Rescue, Bury Council and Cheshire Constabulary leading by example and making this year’s Top 100.”

Stonewall says that companies still face a significant challenge in encouraging diversity, after only 57% of participants agreed they feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation to colleagues.

Around half of gay, lesbian and bisexual participants in the index said that their managers were committed to sexual orientation equality. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Grout, with thanks.

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