South Africa’s first Workplace Equality Index (SAWEI) has identified some of the leading companies in the country for LGBTI+ employees.
The project‚ which released its results this week‚ sought to benchmark the levels of LGBTI+ inclusion and equality in the workplace.
Seventeen companies — employing more than 30‚000 people – mostly in the major cities of Johannesburg‚ Cape Town‚ Pretoria and Durban were invited to participate in the or pilot study.
Bain & Company and Shell were ranked at the top gold tier‚ scoring 80% or more. Other companies that performed well included Absa‚ Thomson Reuters‚ P& G‚ PWC and Deloitte.
“For many LGBTI+ people‚ the workplace should be a place of safety and diversity. However‚ levels of discrimination and prejudice still exist‚” said a statement by the South African LGBT+ Management Forum.
“Despite the importance and benefits of ensuring LGBTI+ inclusion in the workplace‚ companies in South Africa have never had the means to measure how well they are performing and to identify potential gaps and areas of improvement.”
The forum is an umbrella‚ non-profit organisation for professional lesbian‚ gay‚ bisexual and transgender employee network groups seeking to create safe and equitable workplaces.
SAWEI coordinator and director at the forum Luke Andrews said: “This was the first year that we brought the concept of a corporate LGBTI+ benchmark to South Africa and we want to thank those forward-thinking companies that put their hands up to participate. Without their vision and eager participation‚ it would not have been possible….
“When LGBTI+ people are able to bring their true selves to work‚ this makes them happier‚ more productive and less likely to leave a company. This alone means that LGBTI+ inclusion makes good business sense.”
Some of the key observations from the Index included:
– Nearly all participating companies had policies in place prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation along with other elements such as race‚ language and gender.
– The greatest divergence in SAWEI scores occurred with regards to inclusion of LGBTI+ within employment equity (EE) forums‚ with roughly half of respondents stating that the mandate of EE representatives includes LGBTI+ and sexual orientation‚ despite discrimination against sexual orientation being addressed in the Employment Equity Act.
– All participants reported a variety of routes open to employees to report harassment.
– The majority of participants had an LGBTI+ employee network or affinity group.
“The evidence highlighted some great work that companies are doing on diversity and inclusion in South Africa. It has shown the importance of addressing specific issues facing LGBTI+ people in the workplace and how this can be done through existing programmes that currently address just gender and racial transformation‚” said the forum.