Lord Browne urges businesses to end intolerance of homosexuality

It has been widely reported that Former BP chief executive says gay people often refrain from applying for certain jobs in business for fear of discrimination.

Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP, has urged business leaders to do more to end discrimination against gay people in the workplace.

Speaking to the BBC’s business editor, Robert Peston, he said: “My sense is that the business world remains more intolerant of homosexuality than other worlds such as the legal profession, the media and the visual arts … I am one of a handful of publicly gay people to have run a FTSE 100 company.

“In some industries, the situation is particularly bad. Among the many people I know in private equity, where I now work, fewer than 1% are openly gay.”

He said gay people often refrain from applying for certain jobs for fear of discrimination: “That is the most difficult thing, people need confidence to go out there and be part of life.” He suggested businesses should set targets to make sure they are working to be more inclusive.

In developing the Sexual Orientation training programme for the workplace, we conducted research with Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual employees in numerous organisations who echoed his views. In addition, many gay people were afraid of ‘coming out’ purely because they felt that it would affect their career chances with their employers. Over 80% of the people we interviewed frequently witnessed anti-gay comments by managers and colleagues, which made them feel that they needed to keep their sexual orientation private. This in turn causes many other issues for the individual – and as we know all too well, people perform better at work when they can be themselves.

The storylines within this powerful training tool were developed in partnership with Stonewall and are based on real life scenarios. To find out more about the business benefits of sexual orientation training for Managers and Staff, click here.

Click here to read the Guardian article with Lord Browne.

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