Teesside University has been named as one of the country’s top employers for LGBT+ staff.
The university’s commitment to equality and diversity has been rewarded with its highest ever ranking of 40th in the influential annual Stonewall UK Workplace Equality Index (WEI), a rise of seven places from last year.
This year’s survey attracted a record number of submissions with more than 500 employers from across the country seeking to demonstrate their commitment to workplace inclusion.
Teesside University was ranked 4th out of 54 universities that made a submission to Stonewall, and once again achieved top spot in the North-East.
This is the fifth consecutive year that Teesside University has been included in the charity’s Top 100 list of employers, which are recognised for their outstanding efforts to create an inclusive workplace for their lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees.
The Stonewall index represents the views of almost 110,000 anonymous employees who responded to the survey and rated their organisations based on their experience of workplace culture and diversity.
Teesside University demonstrated its commitment to embracing diversity and actively opposing prejudice, with a number of initiatives throughout the year.
These included an art exhibition, workshops and a remembrance event for Trans Awareness Week, to increase the visibility of trans people and help address the issues they face on a daily basis.
The university also hosted its third annual Rainbow Rounders Tournament promoting diversity and inclusivity in sport, and a number of local organisations took part including Cleveland Fire Brigade, Cleveland Police, MFC Foundation and the North East Ambulance Service.
Teesside also reviewed its internal policies to remove reference to gender to demonstrate the importance of inclusivity within its community.
Juliet Amos, executive director (human resources) and equality and diversity champion (LGBT+) at Teesside University said: “As an organisation we are delighted with this result. It reflects the importance with which we value our LGBT+ community.
“We continue to work hard to provide an inclusive environment where everyone can be their genuine self. We are particularly proud of the way we continue to work with our partners externally to build up a wider network of shared values and aims.
“Events such as our annual Rainbow Rounders Tournament see people coming together in a way which we are proud of.
“We will use this rise in our rankings to carry on holding a mirror to what we do, reflecting and embedding equality and inclusion for everyone across Teesside University.”
Phillippa Scrafton, Stonewall client account manager for North-East England, said: “Teesside University and all those who have made this year’s Top 100 Employers list are making a huge difference to workplaces, services and communities across the UK.
“LGBT-inclusive employers play a crucial role in changing society by using their power and influence to protect and support LGBT people.
“More than a third of LGBT staff (35%) still hide their identity at work for fear of discrimination. That has an impact on productivity, wellbeing and more, and shows we still have lots to do.
“With organisations like Teesside University, who have been consistently in the Top 100 for several years, displaying such a strong commitment to LGBT equality, we are one step closer to creating a world where all lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees are welcomed and accepted without exception.”