65 FTSE 100 companies now mention LGBT+ in their annual reports

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
The 2019 London Pride parade passes through Piccadilly Circus. Photo: Matthew Chattle/Barcroft Medi via Getty Images

The number of FTSE 100 companies that include references to LGBT+ inclusion in their annual reports has jumped to 65 in 2019, from 53 just five years ago, according to a new analysis.

But that still means that 35% of the UK’s top 100 companies fail to mention matters related to the LGBT+ community in their annual reports, according to INvolve, a network that champions diversity and inclusion in business.

Further, 17 FTSE 100 companies that changed their Twitter logos for Pride made no mention of LGBT+ in their annual reports, documents that companies consider crucial for outlining their priorities, mission, and achievements.

While INvolve said the increase in the number of companies talking about LGBT+ diversity and inclusion was “encouraging,” it said that its analysis “shows how much more work there is to be done.”

INvolve noted that an increasing body of research supports the notion that being more inclusive is a good business decision.

Firms with the most developed diversity policies are 54% more likely to financially outperform the industry average compared to the least diverse firms, according to research conducted by INvolve and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

“Annual reports are of huge importance for FTSE 100 companies as it is their chance to highlight the key issues and initiatives that they are focusing on,” said Suki Sandhu, founder and CEO of INvolve, in a statement.

INvolve has also just opened nominations for its 2019 ranking of LGBT+ business leaders and allies, known as OUTstanding.

Now in its seventh year of recognising and promoting role models in this sphere, OUTstanding is supported by Yahoo Finance UK.

READ MORE: INvolve’s Suki Sandhu on where businesses fail on diversity

Of the annual reports analysed by INvolve, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), banking group Barclays (BCS), and publishing group Pearson (PSON.L) outperformed the other FTSE 100 companies, the network found.

In 2018, GlaxoSmithKline pledged support for the United Nations’ LGBTI global business standards, while its internal LGBT+ group was recognised as “Employee Network Group of the Year”.

Pearson updated all of its school textbook to be inclusive of the LGBT+ community, while Barclays sponsored and took part in over 25 Pride celebrations across the UK.

Liz Burton, head of diversity and inclusion at GlaxoSmithKline, said in a statement her company was “delighted” to be recognised for its LGBT+ inclusion.

“At GSK we take pride in championing inclusion and diversity through our culture, our values and the global policies,” she said.

Though much progress has been made, YouGov recently found that LGBT+ employees are paid 16% less than their straight colleagues, while around 70% of LGBT+ employees in the UK have experienced sexual harassment at work.