London-based international law firm Clifford Chance has been named the top ranking employer for LGBTQ people in 2023, according to charity organisation Stonewall.
The Stonewall Top 100 Employers list was compiled using the Workplace Equality Index, which employers complete voluntarily on an annual basis, in order to measure, benchmark and improve their inclusion practices.
Clifford Chance has ranked within the top 50 for the past eight years, and moved into third place in 2022. The firm was given the Gold Award for its commitment to LGBTQ inclusion, and its affinity network Arcus was highly commended.
According to the firm, its movement up the rankings reflected the evolution of its inclusion policies. Some of its relevant employee benefits include support with transition-related treatments and LGBTQ inclusive mental health support.
Clifford Chance hosts an annual pride art exhibition, to broadcast a message of support to both employees and the wider community, and inclusion ‘lunch and learns’ to raise awareness and understanding within the firm.
The firm has already achieved its target of 5% LGBTQ representation among UK partners, which it set itself to reach by 2025. It is now working towards a global target of 3%. In 2018, it added LGBTQ pay gap data to its mandatory gender pay gap reporting, in addition to ethnicity and disability data.
Michael Bates, managing partner at Clifford Chance UK, said: “Our employees are our greatest asset, and we are proud to provide a supportive and empowering environment where they can thrive. We believe that diversity drives innovation and creativity leading to better outcomes for our people, our business and our clients.
“Coming first in the UK Stonewall index is a great honour for us and a tribute to the work of so many people at every level of the firm. We know that there is always more to do as we work together to deliver a truly inclusive experience for our people, clients and stakeholders and we are committed to doing that.”
Deon Fang, co-chair of Arcus, added: “People from every part of Clifford Chance have worked together for years to affirm LGBTQ+ colleagues, build LGBTQ+ community and protect LGBTQ+ rights in the world.
“It is particularly meaningful to receive this recognition for the year we celebrated 15 years of Arcus. We are focused on working together across the spectrum of LGBTQ+ communities, because equality requires solidarity. Our work continues.”
Clifford Chance was not the only Magic Circle law firm included in the top 10, with Linklaters taking ninth place. Other major names to make the top 20 included KPMG, Citi, Wickes, HSBC, Unilever, Sky and Tesco Stores.
Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall, said: “For many of us, the majority of our time is spent at work, so if we have to hide who we are it can take an enormous personal toll and hold us back from fulfilling our true potential.
“Creating environments where we can all feel comfortable makes our workplaces a safer, better, and friendlier place for everyone and helps staff be proud of who they are.
“We’re incredibly proud to see so many new entrants from a range of sectors on this year’s list, who are committed to making LGBTQ+ people’s lives better. That’s what inclusion is all about and we can’t wait to see.”
Katy Kasper, head of human resources at Capital One UK, which took 89th place on the list, said: “At Capital One we are incredibly proud of our Stonewall ranking this year. Our position is a recognition of our ongoing efforts to ensure all colleagues across the business can be their authentic selves and their opinions, beliefs, and ideas valued within our community.
“We remain focused on understanding and advancing LGBTQ+ equality, so we are able to offer an inclusive working environment for all.”
Michael Brodie, chief executive at NHS Business Services Authority, which was fourth on the list, said: “Over the past year, NHSBSA has taken further strides towards creating an inclusive working environment.
“Our LGBTQ+ Network supports colleagues, raises awareness, assesses decision making and enables innovative approaches to make our organisation stronger. It has really helped created an environment where staff can give and be their best and bring their whole selves to work.”