LGBTI - Australia's Top Employers

Australia’s Top Employers for LGBTI Employees

Global professional services giant PwC has been named Australia’s Employer of the Year 2015 for LGBTI employees, the second time the company has picked up the coveted award.

The Australian arm of the firm topped a list of 20 organisations which were recognised by Pride in Diversity, an initiative supporting the inclusion of LGBTI people in the workplace, for their efforts in implementing diversity initiatives.

The awards were decided using Pride In Diversity’s Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), a service that evaluates and benchmarks LGBTI inclusiveness in Australian workplaces.

Other awards included:  LGBTI Employee Network of the Year (Westpac GLOBAL); Highest Ranking University (Curtin University); Highest Ranking Public Sector Organisation (Australian Federal Police and Department of Defence); and Achievement Award for Most Improved (HSBC).

ANZ won an Innovation Award for their GayTM’s, Key Assets won Small Employer Award and Children and Young People’s Mental Health picked up the Regional Employer Award. Australian Red Cross Blood Collection was also named Highest Ranking Not-for-Profit/Charity.

Pride in Diversity Patron the Hon Michael Kirby AC, said that while an increasing number of employees feel comfortable to be themselves at work additional work is required.

“The more inclusive your workplace culture, the more likely people will be to engage, respect and contribute to the organisation they are working for,” he said.

Pride in Diversity Director Dawn Hough says more organisations are engaging with the AWEI, which is the only benchmark of how Australian organisations are doing against LGBTI diversity initiatives.

“This is the fifth year of the AWEI. The number of employers participating has increased by 152 per cent from Year 1 and we now have over 9000 employees participating in the employee survey. The focus on LGBTI inclusion initiatives has increased substantially, “ she said.

Diversity Council Australia says that while American and UK organisations routinely include LGBTI programs in their diversity initiatives, it’s still not a widespread practice in Australia, which means that many Australian businesses are failing to reap the benefits.

According to Pride in Diversity these benefits are significant and varied and include:

Enhanced brand and ability to capture a broader customer base
Research shows that 74 per cent of gay and 42 per cent of straight consumers are less likely to buy products from organisations holding negative views of lesbian and gay people (Harris Interactive). In addition, 47 per cent of LGBT consumers (as opposed to 18 per cent of heterosexual consumers) are more likely to make a purchasing decision based on their awareness of a company’s diversity policies (Winfield, 2005).

Greater customer understanding
Greater representation of LGBTI people in an organisation’s workforce can help align product and service offerings to LGBTI customers and clients and offer valuable insights into this important and valuable market.

Improved staff retention, productivity and engagement
According to Pride in Diversity two in five lesbian and gay staff facing discrimination will change careers if discrimination continues (Harris Interactive, US) and 50 per cent of LGBTI employees would feel more committed and loyal to employers who introduce LGBTI diversity policies and programs (Same Same : The Gay Census, 2008)

Risk and cost reduction
Another significant advantage for organisations which implement effective LGBTI initiatives is the cost savings which can be achieved through reducing absenteeism, complaint resolution and turnover costs. Building an organisation which is inclusive also preserves the health and wellbeing of employees and reduces the likelihood of major litigation.

The 2015 Top 20 Australian employers for LGBTI people are:

  1. PwC
  2. Westpac Group
  3. Curtin University
  4. Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  5. Goldman Sachs
  6. ANZ
  7. Macquarie
  8. Lend Lease
  9. National Australia Bank
  10. The University of Western Australia
  11. IBM
  12. EY
  13. Australian Red Cross Blood Service
  14. Accenture
  15. Allens
  16. UnitingCare Ageing NSW, ACT
  17. Australian Federal Police
  18. Department of Defence
  19. Herbert Smith Freehills
  20. Telstra


This Better Workplace Bulletin was first published in May 2015