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Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has been ranked top Scottish employer for inclusivity by lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall.  

SDS placed ahead of all other Scottish companies in the charity’s Top 100 and ranked 12th in the UK, up from 18th in 2019.  

The Top 100 is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a benchmark used by employers to assess their achievements and progress on LGBT equality. This year, a record 503 submissions were received.  

Director of HR, Carolyn Anderson, added: “We are absolutely delighted to be recognised for the second year as one of Scotland’s best performing employers for lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees.  

“As an employer, we are fully committed to empowering everyone to be themselves in the SDS workplace. We all benefit from a diversity of perspective which enables us all to thrive in a positive culture of dignity and mutual respect.”  

The Workplace Equality Index provides a strong framework to involve our whole organisation, from procurement and operations to communications and policy development, in improving LGBT inclusion. 

As well as delivering services that are inclusive and accessible to all, in the last year SDS has actively supported nine Pride events across Scotland, developed a range of LGBT-specific resources for staff including a trans webinar and transitioning guidance, and continues to encourage an active LGBT Allies Network group. 

Lesley Robertson, Co-Chair of SDS LGBTI Allies Network

With more and more employers taking part in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index every year, it is no small achievement for SDS to have continued to climb up the Top 100 ladder.  

“It has been a great year for the LGBTI + Allies Network - with our first face to face Network meeting taking place and colleagues in the Network getting involved as Co-Chairs. It has been such a pleasure working with and getting to know colleagues from other areas and specialisms.  

“I identify as LGBT and I can truly be myself at work. Sadly, not everyone is fortunate enough to have the same experience that I have at work. This is one of my motivations for continuing to want to get involved in activities at SDS to help progress LGBT equality for staff, customers and our wider community.” 

As part of the Top 100, Stonewall collects more than 109,000 anonymous responses from employees on their experience of Britain’s workplace culture and diversity. This year, 81 per cent of LGBT employees who responded to the survey said they feel able to be themselves in the workplace.  

Sanjay Sood-Smith, Stonewall’s Executive Director of Workplace & Community Programmes, said: "We are delighted to name SDS as one of our Top 100 Employers this year. All the organisations in this year's Top 100 Employer's list are playing a huge role in improving the lives of LGBT people and should be very proud of their work.  

"We still don't live in a world where everyone is able to be themselves in the workplace, as we know more than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) hide who they are at work. By taking steps to make their workplaces supportive and welcoming of all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, businesses like SDS are bringing us closer to a world where everyone is accepted without exception."

Stonewall is Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, working to create a world where every single person can be accepted without exception. It was founded in 1989 by a small group of people who wanted to break down barriers to equality and works in partnership with a growing network of more than 760 organisations to help create real change for the better. It campaigns to eliminate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in communities, and empowers LGBT people and their allies to be role models wherever they live, work, study, shop, socialise or pray. 

Stonewall’s 2018 Work Report revealed more than a third of LGBT staff (35 per cent) have hidden they are LGBT at work and almost one in five LGBT employees (18 per cent) have been the target of negative comments from colleagues because of their identity. 

The Top 100 received the largest ever number of submissions with 503 employers entering, demonstrating their commitment to LGBT workplace inclusion. 

To see the full list, please visit the Stonewall website


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