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Finance industry dominates Hong Kong inclusion index

Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and BlackRock are Hong Kong’s top three employers for LGBT+ inclusion, according to this year’s Hong Kong LGBT+ Inclusion Index. Launched in 2015, the index provides a benchmark on workplace policies and practices for creating inclusive workplaces for LGBT+ employees.

Compiled by Community Business, the index comes out every two years, while an accompanying awards gala is held annually. In addition to a ranking on the index, participating companies receive a report detailing their progress when it comes to LGBT+ inclusion.

This year, 51 multinational corporates and local SMEs across 10 different industries participated, including legal, financial services, recruitment, consulates, technology, and media. Financial institutions dominated the list, not only taking the top three spots, but also representing the 12 entries that achieved a Gold Standard.

2017 Hong Kong Top 12 Employers for LGBT+ Inclusion1. Goldman Sachs2. HSBC3. BlackRock4. J.P. Morgan5. Morgan Stanley6. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited7. Credit Suisse8. Commonwealth Bank of Australia9. Nomura International (Hong Kong) Limited10. Barclays Capital Asia Limited11. Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited12. BNY Mellon

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Commenting to Human Resources magazine on taking first place on the index, Bruce Larson, head of human capital management in Asia Pacific, Goldman Sachs, said:

"We take great pride in the results of the index. There is a strong business case to be made for having an inclusive workplace and we hope to see more Hong Kong companies featured in the index in the future."

The domination of the banks can partly be explained by the fact that out of the 51 entries, 19 came from the finance industry. Additionally, they have somewhat of a head start, explains Fern Ngai, CEO of Community Business.

"Creating a truly inclusive workplace is a journey, it takes time. Some of these companies have been on this journey in Hong Kong for over 12 years, so by now diversity and inclusion is embedded in the way they work," Ngai says.

She adds that another driving factor of their success is their dependence on global talent, and the fierce competition for the best candidates. To secure the best talent, they have to make sure they’re not excluding anyone.

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With the index, Community Business aims to drive the adoption of best practice by companies in Hong Kong, as well as showcase the benefits of creating an inclusive workplace.

"LGBT+ inclusion is about someone’s identity as a person, and whether they’ll feel just as accepted as their straight colleagues," Ngai says. "If people feel like they have to lie at work, that negatively impacts their engagement and productivity. So as a company, you’re not getting the most out of them. Considering estimates suggest 5-10% of the workforce identifies as LGBT, that can have a big impact."

Proving that the index is helping companies improve is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who moved up seven places compared to two years ago. In a statement to Human Resources magazine Maaike Steinebach, chief executive, Commonwealth Bank of Australia Hong Kong Branch, said:

"The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is an equal opportunity employer. The Group, which employs 52,000 people around the world, proactively leverages diversity and fosters inclusion to ensure that all employees feel valued and respected, and can do their best every day to deliver the Group’s vision to excel at enhancing the financial wellbeing of people, businesses and communities.

CBA Hong Kong is proud to achieve the Gold Standard in the 2017 HK LGBT+ Workplace Inclusion Index, placing eighth this year from 15th in 2015.

We thank Community Business for its recommendations on LGBT+ Workplace Inclusion, which were incorporated in our approach and helped in our improved ranking."

ALSO READ: Asia lags in offering LGBT employees equal benefits

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