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Diversity key factor in reversing the business rainbow 'brain drain'

Diversity key factor in reversing the business rainbow 'brain drain'
Diversity could be key factor in reversing business Rainbow 'brain drain'

Leaders in Northern Ireland's business community will discuss workplace diversity as a key tool in retaining and returning talent to the region at an event on 20 May.

Part of LGBT Awareness Week 2016, the Diversity Champions NI event titled 'Business Rainbows. Better Together' will examine if the changing landscape of diversity could attract back LGBT people who may have pursued careers in other regions.

Chaired by Fidelma Carolan, Equality Commissioner, speakers will include Catherine Vaughan, Head of EY LGBT Network, and representatives from local employers that have gained recognition from the Rainbow Project’s Diversity Champions NI programme for robust equality and diversity policies and practices. In preparation for the event the Rainbow Project have published a survey asking if perceptions of LGBT inclusivity in the workplace have improved over the last decade and identify any underpinning factors. People wishing to express their view can respond to the twitter poll @DChampions or online survey (now closed).

John O’Doherty, Director of the Rainbow Project said “As Northern Ireland seeks to compete in the global economy we must ensure our best talent is at the forefront of that effort. This event will discuss if people feel the diversity landscape has improved, and if that can be used to attract LGBT people back who may have moved to other cities they perceived as more welcoming or cosmopolitan when making career decisions."

Diversity Champions NI was developed by the Rainbow Project in consultation with employers and government agencies including Allen & Overy, Belfast City Council, Department for Employment and Learning, Ernst & Young, Lloyds Banking, Pinsent Masons, Public Health Agency and PwC. The programme sets out sets out voluntary standards that organisations of all sizes can aim for if they wish to be viewed as inclusive and safe workplaces for people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

Paul Gillen, Employment Partner at Pinsent Masons said, “As the top ranked law firm (No. 5) listed in the Stonewall Index, Pinsent Masons has long been recognised for the value we place upon diversity in the workplace.  In the past Northern Ireland may not have seemed a welcoming environment for LGBT people to pursue rewarding and fulfilled careers. They may have chosen to move elsewhere, to major international cities such as London. I believe that context is changing and the work of inclusivity programmes such as Diversity Champions could be instrumental in ending and indeed reversing this 'Rainbow brain drain' of talent."

The Diversity Champions NI event takes place at 4-6pm in Pinsent Masons, The Soloist, Lanyon Place, Belfast and is free to attend. To register your attendance email or call 028 9031 9030.

Notes for Editors:

“Promoting diversity and respecting LGBT+ equality in the workplace is of the utmost importance to Citi.  I am proud to be the Senior Business sponsor of the Citi Pride Network - Belfast as they assist in ensuring that Citi Belfast attracts and retains the best talent whilst ensuring we are one of the employers of choice here in Northern Ireland.  Staff networks such as this help to ensure that businesses certainly do work better together.”
Peter Holden - CITI

We encourage employers to go beyond compliance with the law and have seen some great examples of good practice, with organisations reaping the rewards of diversity.  Advising employers on equality issues and helping them make their workplaces more inclusive is a major area of work for the Commission. We have a wealth of guidance and information on our website and provide training on equality issues as well as direct advice and guidance on a one to one basis.”
Fidelma Carolan, Commissioner with the Equality Commission

"As the first Health and Social Care organisation in Northern Ireland to be recognised as a Diversity Champion, we are delighted to be able to share our learning and learn from other organisations involved in the programme. An event such as this provides the opportunity to celebrate collectively and highlight the importance of diversity in our workplaces.”
Mary Black, Assistant Director of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement, Public Health Agency

“We know that our approach to diversity is a big factor for people who work for us or are considering a career with us. Offering supportive and inclusive working environments across all departments is an important part of our business strategy and means talented people at each level of our firm can make a full contribution. The value and strength of the diverse talent pool available in Northern Ireland, was a factor in Allen & Overy’s decision to establish its global support centre in Belfast. It is important for our colleagues to know that they are valued and can ‘be themselves’ at work regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Diversity Champions partnership is just one of the ways we’re promoting inclusion in the workplace.” 
 Barry McCrory, Chair of the LGBT network at Allen & Overy 

To ‘respect each other, be fair, promote equality and good relations- by improving access to our services, valuing diversity, ensuring that everyone shares in the city’s successes and tackling discrimination in all its forms’ is one of Belfast City Council’s core values and it underpins everything the Council does in term of its workplace. Increasing diversity and inclusion in organisations is not about “doing the right thing” – it is essential to our success.
Belfast City Council


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