The Royal Navy has been named in the UK’s top 10 gay-friendly employers by Stonewall, just 16 years after LGB personnel were allowed to serve openly in the military.
The Royal Navy moved to tenth place, up from 56th in 2015, which is highest ranking ever awarded to defence. The British Army has also been recognised for the third year, retaining its place in the top 50 employers, moving up 14 positions to 32nd place on the list.
Penny Mordaunt, Minister for the Armed Forces, said:
I am extremely proud of how far we have come in terms of supporting our LGBT personnel. The rankings achieved by the Army and Navy are a testament to the hard work of all those in our Armed Forces who strive on a daily basis to make defence a place where everyone can be themselves. I was delighted to become a Stonewall ally last year after taking part in the 'No Bystanders' anti-bullying campaign.
Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said:
I’m so proud that the Royal Navy has been ranked in the top ten of Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index. It’s a ringing endorsement of our efforts, led by our diversity champions, to ensure we remain one of the most attractive employers in the UK. It also just goes to show that if you’re good enough, it doesn’t matter who you are: anyone can succeed in the Royal Navy.
Diversity is also about being the best Navy in the world. The Royal Navy’s strength rests on our men and women, in all their glorious diversity. Their skill, their determination, their ability to think and fight, determines our success.
The achievement for the services reflects the work undertaken across defence in recent years to improve diversity and inclusion.
Commander Field Army, Lieutenant General Sir James Everard, said:
I am delighted that the Army has once more demonstrated the progress it has made as an inclusive employer by achieving its highest-ever ranking within the Stonewall Top 100 Employers.
I know that much of the credit for this must go to our LGBT Network who work tirelessly to represent the Army’s LGBT community and constantly challenge the policy makers and chain of command to do better.
The RAF was outside the top 100 in 2016, however significant progress has been achieved in the last 12 months to develop personnel policy to better reflect the needs of LGBT personnel. The RAF LGBT Freedom Network continued to actively promote the sense of community amongst RAF LGBT personnel. A comprehensive guide on transgender personnel was produced which provides clear and easily understood guidance for all personnel on what it means to be transgender and how they can become better allies to their transgender colleagues. The RAF is proud of its excellent work with Stonewall since 2007 and remains fully committed to being an inclusive employer of choice.
Lt General Andrew Gregory, Chief of Defence People, said:
I am thrilled to see the Royal Navy in the top 10 of employers and the Army ranking even higher than their impressive positioning last year. We are obviously disappointed that the Royal Air Force haven’t made the top 100 this year in what was clearly a very competitive field. This does not reflect any lessening of our desire to make the whole of defence – the Armed Forces and the civil service - a career of choice for all individuals where they can be valued for who they are and the skills they offer, in the process realising their own potential.
The Stonewall Workplace Index is a benchmarking tool used by employers to create inclusive workplaces. The index is determined by areas such as employee policy, training, career development, monitoring and community engagement, as well as feedback directly from staff. This year attracted the highest number of entries since the Index launched in 2005.