Investment industry, open for business

Tue, June 12, 2018

A note from LGBT Great’s project director, Peter Hall

“The number of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the UK has reached 1 million for the first time on record (ONS) the largest increase since ONS records began. An interesting trend to note is Gen Z (People aged 16-24) are most likely to identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual than any other age group in the UK. While this information points to people becoming more comfortable in declaring themselves as LGBT many still struggle to open up about their identity with friends, family or work colleagues.

This challenge for individuals to come out and be their authentic selves not only has a negative impact on the individual but it can also impact on how they able to contribute effectively their diverse talent for perspective or current employers. The investment industry is set to explode over the next 10 years with a significant growth with the amount of assets the Industry manages set to double by 2025. 

This makes way for younger talent to enter the industry. Yes, I’m talking about the LGBT+ community.   According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 67 percent of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers and 57 percent of employees think their companies should be more diverse. These numbers are telling. Not only can organisations fill positions with qualified candidates more quickly by recruiting from different talent pools, but a diverse workforce also benefits their employer brand which is crucial when it comes to getting the right talent.

While many employers are making progress in recognising the benefits of hiring diverse talent, challenges still remain. Many LGBT+ employees, and trans people in particular, still face anti-LGBT discrimination and even bullying at work. Stonewall’s Report “ LGBT in Britain – Work Report “ highlights that many LGBT employees don’t feel comfortable enough to disclose their identity at work, and often those who do are subject to discrimination and abuse, with incidents ranging from offensive language from customers to being outed at work without their consent. If you're black, Asian or minority ethnic, trans or disabled, the likelihood of facing harassment and discrimination in the workplace is even greater.

Key findings within the report include;

  • Almost one in five LGBT employees (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues in the last year because they're LGBT.
  • Almost one in five LGBT people (18 per cent) who were looking for work said they were  discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity while trying to get a job in the last year
  • More than a third of LGBT employees (35 per cent) have hidden or disguised that they are LGBT at work in the last year because they were afraid of discrimination.
  • Almost a third of non-binary people (31 per cent) and one in five trans people (18 per cent) don’t feel able to wear work attire representing their gender expression.

Clearly, more still needs to be done to ensure that we not only value diverse talent but that we continually work to create and sustain an inclusive culture for all. Looking specifically at the Investment Industry, LGBT Capital is the first specialist investment firm focused exclusively on the LGBT Market. Together with LGBT Great they recently conducted a study looking into the context of LGBT+ inclusion within the Asset Management/Investment Industry. The study “A starting point for LGBT inclusion within the Investment Industry” mirrors key findings that align with Stonewall’s report and OutNow “LGBT Diversity - Show me the business case”.

Key findings from the study:

  • Tackling negative Banter within the Industry is the number concern.
  • Lack of awareness of LGBT+ polices and implementation
  • Lack of visibility of role models and awareness of support employee resource groups
  • LGBT+ inclusion matters in talent attraction and retention
  • In terms of reputational brand. LGBT+ inclusion is vital for Millennials and Gen Z the future workforce.

At LGBT Great we firmly believe that the investment industry has a window of opportunity “to come from behind the curve” in respect of LGBT+ inclusion and be recognised as a sector leader - but only if it starts now!  As an active LGBT+ Ally who has worked across many sectors I fundamentally believe that the Investment Industry can benefit immensely from engaging positively, and actively support LGBT+ inclusion. 

Why not start now and become an LGBT Great role model Our LGBT Great Role Models are LGBT+ and, or Ally individuals who are working in, or with the investments industry. Our aim is to develop visibility of LGBT+ and Allies who are already there! Better still - tell us your story.   

Our 4 Top Tips

1. Create visibility:

  • Encourage and support the formation of an LGBT+ network group, so that LGBT+ employees have visible role models and peers. In smaller organisations employers should assist LGBT+ employees in joining an external network.  
  • Support employees members who have multiple protected characteristics (for example, are both LGBT+ and black, Asian or minority ethnic) by facilitating collaboration between different network/resource groups
  • Empower senior leaders to make visible commitments to LGBT+ inclusion through speaking at internal diversity events, authoring communications and meeting with the LGBT+ employee network group. (Example - Civil Service blog “(Championing an LGBT+ inclusive workplace)

2. Develop LGBT+ policies:

  • Develop clear zero tolerance policies on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination and harassment, with clear sanctions for staff and clients.  Actively communicate their equality policy to all employees and ensure that the route for reporting homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in the workplace is clear.

3. Support your employees:

  • Implement comprehensive diversity and inclusion training, which explains what anti-LGBT+ discrimination or abuse might look like, why it is bad for business and how to challenge anti-LGBT attitudes among colleagues. Training should also provide employees with an understanding of multiple identities and inequality (for example, the dual discrimination that an LGBT, disabled staff member may face). Ensure that Line Managers receive appropriate training and support to confidently take a zero-tolerance approach to all homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse in the workplace.

4. Make your recruitment and promotion LGBT+ inclusive

  • Include statements and examples of your commitment to LGBT+ employees, equality and inclusion on your firm’s website. When advertising job roles, make sure that a commitment to diversity and inclusion in your workplace is clearly communicated.
  • Develop clear policies around recruitment and promotion, train your recruitment team to understand where discrimination against LGBT+ employees can occur in the recruitment process and how they can take active steps to reduce bias.


To continue the conversation you can get in touch by emailing me at:

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