University of Birmingham ranks among the top LGBT-friendly employers

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 50th overall in the definitive list of Britain's most LGBT-friendly workplaces.

Birmingham’s position in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers 2016 sees an impressive rise of 29 places from last year, reflecting the University’s on-going commitment to creating an inclusive workplace.

Stonewall’s Top 100 Employers is the definitive list showcasing the best employers for lesbian, gay and bi staff. The list is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a powerful benchmarking tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces.

Now in its twelfth year, the list celebrates the pioneering efforts of leading organisations to create inclusive workplaces. More than 400 employers submitted entries to the 2016 Index, the highest number since the Index first opened in 2005.

Employers submit written responses to the criteria set by Stonewall, accompanied by supporting evidence. To supplement evidence submitted by employers, Stonewall also seeks feedback directly from the entrants’ staff. The feedback is sent direct to Stonewall and is anonymous. This year Stonewall received 60,506 responses to the staff survey, making it one of the largest national employment surveys in Britain.

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall Chief Executive, said: “The University of Birmingham and all of those employers that secured a place in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers 2016 list performed fantastically this year. We have had more submissions than ever before and so making the list is a huge achievement. I’d like to thank all of those organisations for their continued efforts to ensure that their lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff feel comfortable to bring their whole selves to work and are accepted without exception.”

The University’s application to the Top 100 Index provided information about its staff networks, support for students and work within the community. The University of Birmingham has an active Rainbow Network that aims to provide a space for staff who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer/questioning, along with friends of these communities, to meet and to develop an interesting and enjoyable programme of events and activities. The Network reports back to the University through the Diversity Forum. The Rainbow Network is also an informal point of contact for LGBT issues that may arise in the workplace, such as bullying and harassment. The Network, acting in complete confidentiality, can signpost members to specific services available to them or towards colleagues within their own department who can help.

Unique among UK universities, the University of Birmingham offers its own Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Mentoring Scheme. Now in its third year, students are paired up with staff from organisations in Birmingham to discuss the challenges facing LGBT graduates entering the workplace with a focus on coming out in the workplace. Over half of the mentors are staff from the University itself.

Later this year the University of Birmingham will be hosting a conference on behalf of the LGBT Inclusivity Network that will explore current developments and concerns related to LGBTQ inclusivity in Further and Higher Education.

Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equalities, Professor Una Martin, said: “This really is an amazing achievement and would not have been possible without a significant input from a dedicated team, especially the Rainbow Network and our Equality Advisor, Susan Squire. Together, they clearly demonstrated to Stonewall the breadth of tremendous work taking place to ensure we are promoting and supporting workplace equality in its wider sense. In addition to working with staff and students, we also run a programme of events for LGBT History Month, which are open to all. 

“We will be celebrating this achievement at our LGBT History Month launch event on 5 February 2016, where our keynote speaker will be Dame Julie Moore, Chief Executive of University Hospitals Birmingham. If you would like to join us, please register at: http://lgbthistorymonthlaunchbooking.eventbrite.co.uk/

Ends

For interview requests or for more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communication Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or email t.moran@bham.ac.uk For out of hours media enquiries, please call: +44 (0) 7789 921165

Notes to Editors

Stonewall is a UK-based charity that works to achieve equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexual people. As Europe’s largest gay equality organisation, Stonewall's work includes policy development, cultural and attitudinal change, lobbying for legal change, providing information and offering good practice design and advice.

Scoring nine out of ten in the Stonewall University Guide 2015, the University of Birmingham also has fantastic support and resources for LGBTQ students, as well as a thriving city-centre scene. Furthermore, Attitude andDiva magazines independently voted the University of Birmingham as one of the best universities in the country to be an LGBTQ student.

First year undergraduates are also offered an LGBT housing option when applying for accommodation.

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from nearly 150 countries.

LGBT History Month events will be running throughout February and full details can be found here.