Links study reveals higher than average ‘out’ LGB staff

Around 20 per cent of gay and lesbian staff at ­Linklaters are not ’out’ in the workplace, according to a survey the firm has ­conducted among City staff.

Of those who are not out, 13 per cent are open about their sexuality outside the firm. However, the study among 600 employees also found that 97 per cent of all straight employees are ­’comfortable’ working with gay colleagues.

Mark Middleton, capital markets partner and co-chair of the firm’s LGB network, commented: “Four out of five [members of LGB staff] are out and that’s very impressive. There was a small proportion who did express discomfort, but we’re trying to tackle [this] head-on so that people feel absolutely comfortable about being who they are in the workplace.”

The survey is one of a series of initiatives the firm is undertaking as part of a drive to attract and retain LGB staff through recruitment, networking and reviewing its HR policies.

A study by InterLaw Diversity Forum for LGBT Networks and the Law ­Society suggests that the ­proportion of staff who are ’out’ at Linklaters is ­considerably higher than the industry average: just 9 per cent of gay lawyers and 27 per cent of lesbians are out at work.

InterLaw co-chair Daniel Winterfeldt commented: “While cultural change can be slow-paced, work like Linklaters’ survey on LGBT issues shines a light on the support and acceptance of the business.”