Major employers say no to LGBT index

by Hannah Norton19 May 2015
Hong Kong’s largest employer – the city’s government – is among the firms and organisations who failed to take part in an inaugural LGBT workplace inclusion index.

The results of the index were announced last week, with Goldman Sachs receiving the Top Employer Award.

The top 10 were as follows:
  1. Goldman Sachs
  2. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
  3. J.P. Morgan
  4. Morgan Stanley
  5. Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  6. Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited
  7. Barclays Capital Asia Limited
  8. Nomura International (Hong Kong) Limited
  9. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
  10. British Consulate-General Hong Kong and British Council Hong Kong
Something you may notice: the vast majority of these, and the firms who took part overall, are multinational corporates.

Organisers said only three of 35 companies participating in the survey were local Hong Kong firms.

"This reflects the local situation ... we've reached out to thousands of companies, but many chose not to participate,” chief executive of Community Business Fern Ngai told the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

“It's obvious that it's not quite a mainstream issue among local companies.”

Many local companies refused to take part in the index, which was the first of its kind in Asia, Ngai said.

Out of the 35 firms on the index, 30 are multinationals, two are non-profits and three are local Hong Kong companies.

“[We] want to congratulate and acknowledge all the companies that took part in this Index - their decision to participate is a significant and critical first step,” she said.

“Regardless of performance, all these companies have shown they are committed to creating inclusive workplaces for LGBT employees in Hong Kong and we urge them to use the learning and insights gained through this process to focus their efforts and drive continued progress."

Ngai believed multinationals tended to be more serious about diversity and inclusion and have implemented global policies specific to these issues.

These companies are aware that better diversity and inclusion policies help attract, engage and retain top talent, she told SCMP.

Founder and CEO of Achieve Group Joshua Yim echoed her sentiments with regards to increase engagement in LGBT-friendly workplaces.

When an individual is empowered to be himself, he will definitely feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, resulting in a more engaged employee, Yim told Singapore Business Review.

“At the same time, other teammates within the organisation will also feel a sense of engagement as they witness the organisation upholding the over-arching principle of having integrity and being embracing of individual differences.”

Chairperson of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission, Dr York Chow, congratulated Community Business on the pioneering initiative.

"Indeed, LGBT workplace inclusion should be a key business concern for all companies aspiring to be employers of choice, and this index provides an important tool for benchmarking and measuring progress. Such innovative actions can play a key role towards fostering a truly inclusive society." 

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