MI5 nominated as top employer while big banks and finance firms dominate NatWest British LGBT Awards shortlist

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Shortlist announced for NatWest British LGBT Awards; Barclays, HSBC and Mastercard nominated for commitment to diversity; Supermarkets triumph, with Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s up for awards

MI5 has been recognised as one of the UK’s best employers for LGBT+ individuals by the annual NatWest British LGBT Awards.

The Security Service has a dedicated LGBT+ network, improved its support for LGBT+ employees consistently over a number of years and worked to promote an inclusive internal culture.

The Security Service faces stiff competition from the British Army, Channel 4, Deloitte, EY, HSBC UK, Pinsent Masons, Travelodge, Viacom and Visa in the same category.

Top high street banks fared well in the Top 10 shortlists, as did other giants of the finance industry. Barclays, Mastercard, TSB and Santander all bagged nominations in the Corporate Straight Ally category, which champions cisgender, heterosexual individuals who nevertheless use their position of privilege to benefit the LGBT+ community.

Asda Pride, a lively staff group with a Twitter following of more than 4,500, is nominated in the LGBT+ Network Group category. Its supermarket rivals are represented in the Corporate Rising Star category, with John Dickinson of Tesco and Leng Montgomery of Sainsbury’s in contention for the award.

In the Diversity Champion category, a suitably wide array of companies have nabbed nominations, including Vodafone, Fujitsu, Thames Water, Aon, Disney, Diageo and Virgin Money.

When it came to Inspirational Leaders, the shortlist comprised figures including Luca Sale of Amazon, Ed Fairhurst of Shell, Narind Singh of Clifford Chance and Kelly Canterford of JLL.

The shortlist was put together following public nominations, and a panel will decide who takes home the award for each category. The ultimate winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, London, on 11 May.

British LGBT Awards co-founder, Sarah Garrett, said:

“These awards celebrate companies and individuals who’ve made a substantive commitment to furthering diversity and equality in their work environment. The ‘gay glass ceiling’ we used to hear so much about is being smashed by people who want to use their position to raise up others in less privileged positions. Firms are beginning to realise that they must reflect wider society, employing and championing LGBT+ people, causes and concerns.”

Commenting on the sponsorship of the awards, Marjorie Strachan, Global head of Inclusion for RBS, added:

“We’re proud to be the headline sponsor of the NatWest British LGBT Awards.

“These awards acknowledge those who have made an outstanding commitment to the LGBT community.

“While we should rightly celebrate the nominees and winners, we should also acknowledge the role the awards play in helping to create a cultural shift towards a more diverse and equal society. That's something we at NatWest are proud to be a part of.”

The public can now vote on who they would like to see win at www.britishlgbtawards.com

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