Top 100 ranking for LGBT equality


Today (19 January 2017), we have been named as a top 100 employer for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff for the fourth year running.

Our continued commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion means we’re ranked in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2017, the definitive list showcasing the best employers for LGBT equality.

As well as submitting evidence on areas of employment policy and practice, from career development to procurement, we shared the Stonewall staff survey with all colleagues back in October 2016.

Across the country, Stonewall received over 90,000 responses making it one of the largest national employment surveys in Britain. The survey covers key indicators of workplace culture including asking if lesbian, gay and bisexual people are comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation at work.

Working with Stonewall is a way to measure our efforts to tackle discrimination and create an inclusive workplace for lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees and we look forward to receiving detailed feedback from Stonewall about where we scored highly and areas for improvement.

Creating an open and inclusive environment within our University, where people can be themselves, is everyone's responsibility.

Professor Gill Valentine, Vice-President & Head of Faculty - Social Sciences and Chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Our Stonewall account manager, Josh Willacy, said: “The University of Sheffield’s work and commitment to creating an inclusive environment for LGBT staff and students has been exceptional this year. From the meaningful and thoughtful events held, to the inclusive communications, rainbow lanyards and ever growing LGBT allies group Open@TUoS, the University continues to raise standards and share best practice. Moving forward, they should strive to increase trans inclusivity and visibility, focus on multiple identities within the LGBT community and explore their impact as Global Diversity Champions. Here’s to an excellent achievement and an exciting year ahead!”

From 2018, the Stonewall Index will include trans related questions for the first time. We have been seeking feedback from individual trans people and external organisations on a trans policy for staff and are planning training and awareness-raising related to trans inclusion.

Matt Mears, LGBT Staff Network Chair, explains why he believes an increased emphasis on trans is important. He said: “The University has been great in developing an inclusive and safe working environment for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff and students, which has been recognised by our top 100 rankings for the past four years. This visible commitment to LGB equality has allowed me to be myself at work, and I’m now very pleased that Stonewall and the University are working to improve the visibility and inclusivity of trans students and staff. We can all be more positive and productive at work when we can simply be ourselves, regardless of how we identify."

So far, 970 colleagues from right across the University have signed up to Open@TUoS, many of whom are wearing rainbow lanyards showing their support for LGBT equality and inclusion. The programme remains a key focus for us this year with the aim of reaching a broader range of supporters and the development of online support and information for allies.

Sign up to Open@TUoS

Revd Dr Jeremy Clines tell us what wearing the rainbow lanyard means to him.

“Wearing a rainbow lanyard as a Christian priest at the University Chaplaincy has opened up lots of conversations by dispelling many assumptions about what my perspective might be on this important area of equality. It's a relief to have something that so readily highlights to others that I'm an ally of those with LGBTQI+ identities."

Revd Dr Jeremy Clines

Over the coming year we will also be developing guidance for line managers on creating an inclusive environment and supporting LGBT colleagues and students.

This year 439 employers from across the public, private and third sectors submitted entries to Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index making it the most competitive index so far. This is reflected in our ranking at number 88, compared to 61 in 2016. We will be exploring successes and areas for improvement with Stonewall in the coming weeks and are very proud to have maintained a spot in the top 100 in the most competitive year yet.