The main story from this week’s release of the Stonewall Top 100 Employers 2023 is the near total disappearance, since 2022, of government departments and agencies (other than NHS bodies). Last year, the spooks at MI6 sat proudly at #52, and it seemed entirely appropriate that an organisation full of people who spend their whole lives pretending to be something they are not should have been lauded by Stonewall on behalf of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. But now the spooks are gone, along with the Department for International Trade, the Financial Ombudsman Service, the House of Lords, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Insolvency Service, and the Royal Navy.
The boys, girls and non-binary kids at the Environment Agency are hanging on in there, but even they have slipped from #16 to #43. And the number of police and fire services in the list has fallen from seven to four.
Also missing from the 2023 list are last year’s wokest employer, the global financial services firm Macquarie Group. In February 2022, after the Group topped the list, Paul Plewman, Chief Executive Officer for Macquarie Group in Europe, Middle East and Africa (he/him), said he was “thrilled with the recognition of how important LGBTQ+ inclusion is to Macquarie” which “recognises years of work to ensure that all our people feel empowered and can thrive”. But maybe the Macquarie team in the UK just isn’t that bothered about their LGBTQ+ people feeling empowered and thriving any more.
Whatever, there were plenty of woke banks and financial services firms, and universities, to fill the gaps. So, welcome, DLA Piper LLP, Brunel University, Virgin Money, Oxford Brookes University, AXA UK, University of Huddersfield, Capital One, Grant Thornton LLP, Nationwide Building Society, Birmingham City University, and the wonderfully named Womble Bond Dickinson LLP. May all your peeps feel empowered and thrive.
To win one of the coveted Top 100 spots, employers are required to demonstrate their work in eight areas of employment policy and practice, and undertake an anonymous staff survey about experiences of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. However, it would appear that those eight areas of employment policy and practice do not include equal pay, as the magic circle law firm Clifford Chance won the top spot despite having an overall gender pay gap of 64.9% in 2021, along with a 53.6% ethnicity pay gap, a 34.4% disability pay gap and even a 31.3% LGBT+ pay gap.
Similarly, the law firm Linklaters, which rose from #53 in 2022 to #9 this year, had an overall gender pay gap of 61.9% in 2021, as well as a 36.5% ethnicity pay gap.
Clearly, to Stonewall, the ‘inclusion’ of some employees matters more than that of others.