Posted by: outandequal | August 11, 2014

Workplace Equality Down Under

Editor’s Note: Several companies that partner with Out & Equal are among the top places to work in Australia for LGBT employees, proving that good diversity and inclusion practices know no borders..

By Dawn Hough, Director – Pride in Diversity

While LGBTI is an assumed agenda item on most progressive diversity strategies in the US and UK, it is still (by comparison) relatively new to Australia. This week, Pride in Diversity released the annual Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI), first published in 2011.


Pride in Diversity is Australia’s not-for-profit employer support program for LGBTI workplace inclusion and the AWEI is the annual index that employers complete to not only assess their current practice in LGBTI workplace equality, but to benchmark themselves against top employers, their sector and (in some cases) industry.

While the main focus of the index is to gauge and shift Australian practice to ensure that it competes internationally with other aligned tools, one of the highlights of the AWEI is the announcement of the country’s Top 20 Employers along with a range of other awards recognising excellence in leadership, small business, country/rural areas in addition to the work and contribution of individual CEO’s, business leaders and champions.

The No.1 spot this year went to Goldman Sachs who have consistently maintained a high Top 10 position over the four year life of the Australian Index. Other Out & Equal partners that made the Top 20 list include IBM (Ranked Joint 6th), Chevron (ranked 13) and EY (Ranked 18).

Representatives of Goldman Sachs receive the 2014 Employer of the Year Award

Representatives of Goldman Sachs receive the 2014 Employer of the Year Award

The index is a comprehensive 200-point index that assesses work for the previous year in the areas of

  • Inclusive Policy and Practice (30 Points)
  • Inclusive Culture and Visibility (60 points)
  • Staff Awareness ,Training & Development (30 Points)
  • Monitoring (Data Collection & Analysis) – 10 points
  • Supplier Diversity (15 points)
  • Community Engagement (30 Points)
  • Inclusion Beyond (10 points)
  • Additional Work (10 points); and
  • Optional participation in an employer survey (5 points).

The optional employee survey this year attracted responses from 5,663 employees of participating organisations and gave insights into the perceptions and awareness of LGBTI employee initiatives in addition to the lived experiences of LGBTI employees within those organisations.

Key findings of the survey showed that lived experiences amongst LGBTI respondents differed across the age groups and across gender. Younger respondents were more likely to have personally experienced negative commentary during the previous year and a startling 13% of 18-24 year old would not report being bullied or harassed at work as it would mean outing themselves to other employees. Other findings show that an LGBTI inclusive culture was an influencing factor for 80.3% of gay men when deciding whether or not to join an organisation while only 74.9% of gay women. Gay men’s perceptions on several indicators were much more positive than those of lesbian/gay women. Gay men were more aware of diversity initiatives and more likely to say that these initiatives had a positive influence on how they felt about their orientation. Bisexual employees on the other hand were far less likely to be out at work (27% as opposed to 81% of gay men and 76% of gay / lesbian women) and that while they believed that an LGBTI inclusive culture was important, only 57% were likely to use it as an influencing factor on whether or not to join an organisation.

Overall, responses from LGBTI employees in the Top 10 organisations were markedly different than from LGBTI employees in non-Top 10 organisations, indicating the positive impact of inclusion initiatives. LGBTI employees within Top 10 organisations reported:

  • Lower levels of negative homophobic/transphobic commentary
  • Lower levels of awareness of homophobic/transphobic bullying
  • More confidence in managers addressing homophobic/transphobic harassment

Inclusion initiatives also had a much more positive impact on how LGB employees felt about their orientation at Top 10 organisations.

Top 20 organisations in Australia for LGBTI workplace equality 2014 are (in order of ranking):

  • 1 – Goldman Sachs
  • 2 – Curtin University
  • 3 – Westpac Banking Corporation
  • 4 – Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • 5 – ANZ
  • 6 – Tie: Australian Federal Police | IBM
    7 – Forfeited (Tie 6th Place)
  • 8 – The University of Western Australia
  • 9 – Lend Lease
  • 10 – Tie: KPMG | Accenture
    11 – Forfeited (Tie 10th place)
  • 12 – Herbert Smith Freehills
  • 13 – Chevron
  • 14 – Tie: National Australia Bank and Macquarie Banking & Financial Services
    15 – Forfeited (Tie 14th place)
  • 16 – Children & Young People’s Mental Health
  • 17 – American Express
  • 18 – EY
  • 19 – Macquarie University
  • 20 – Tie: Gilbert + Tobin and Australian Red Cross Blood Service

In 2011 we started with our Top 10 and the momentum is clearly with us. We salute the growing number of diversity champions and thank them for working tirelessly to create workplaces that are safe and inclusive.

Dawn Hough

Dawn Hough

To connect your Australian Office with Pride in Diversity or participate in the AWEI, please contact Pride in Diversity Director Dawn Hough at +612 9206.2136 or via email.

Visit Pride in Diversity at

To find out more about the AWEI or to download the full benchmarking publication go to:

Follow Pride in Diversity on Facebook: or Twitter: @PrideDiversity


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