Posted on Thursday 13 September 2018 by Ulster Business

Justin Rush

Anyone that attended the 2018 Belfast Pride Festival would have been bowled over by the number of participants in the parade, the huge crowds of well-wishers who assembled, and the sizeable number and range of employers supporting the event.

It was great to see so many people unite and support the importance of diversity and inclusion, themes that are central to successful recruitment strategies. Perhaps, those of us who are in business can learn a lesson from the organisations, that quite literally, lead the way on the day in the parade.

Prominent firms such as Danske Bank, Allen & Overy, EY and FinTrU were out in force at Pride.

Leaders within these organisations truly value being seen as ethical, fair and engaged employers. They know that all their staff expect to be able to bring their ‘true’ selves to work. And of course, when people are happy in work they are productive, so it makes total sense.

When it comes to the attraction of new talent to an organisation, we should think hard about how we position ourselves as inclusive, especially if the intention is to appoint millennials. A recent statistic, published by YouGov and referenced by Fergal McFerran of Stonewall, at the Powered By Talent conference stated that “49% of 18 to 24 year olds now identify as something other than 100% heterosexual”.

Employers should derive two items from this statistic straight away. Firstly, it is highly likely your organisation has LGBT staff employed within. Secondly, employers seeking to recruit, must be seen to welcome potential candidates from all avenues, failure to do so could mean a significant reduction in applications.

Here are some steps to ensure that your organisation, is doing everything it can, to attract recruits from the LGBT community:

Dedicate web and social media pages, that hold specific LGBT inclusive content. This simple measure says lots about company culture and openness.

LGBT equality, include a statement of commitment when advertising jobs on-line. Ensure confidentiality and fairness.

Train recruitment teams, focus on removing any unintentional bias, do your teams know why it is so important to be inclusive?

Use, to advertise your jobs to the UK and Ireland LGBT audience.

Join the parade, get involved in LGBT community events, nothing will say you are an inclusive employer more.

If your organisation is welcoming of diversity, strives for inclusion and is visible in doing so, congratulations. Unfortunately, here in Northern Ireland many organisations are still not thinking widely enough in definition. Those organisations need to establish if their agreed policies are indeed active practice.

If you feel your organisation would benefit from being more visible and more inclusive, visit

Justin Rush is director at Belfast-based Abacus Group. He specialises in advising businesses on research, advice and strategy on talent. He can be contacted at


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