IBM was named the most GLBT-friendly employer of 2010 in Australia at the Pride in Diversity Awards and Luncheon on Tuesday.

The computer giant topped a list of 11 organisations which were recognised in Sydney by Pride In Diversity, Australia’s first employer support program for the inclusion of GLBT people in the workplace.

Winners were determined using the group’s Australian Workplace Equality Index, a free service provided annually by Pride In Diversity that evaluates and benchmarks GLBT inclusiveness in Australian workplaces.

IBM took out awards for Employer of the Year, Highest Ranking Private Sector Employer and GLBT Employee Network Group of the Year. The Australian Federal Police was the Highest Ranking Public Sector Employer and also received a special commendation in the GLBT Employee Network Group category.

The top 10 Australian employers for GLBT people in ranking order were IBM, the Australian Federal Police, KPMG, Goldman Sachs, Telstra, Accenture and Macquarie University (equal sixth), PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the University of Queensland, and the University of Western Australia and Curtin University (equal 10th).

Speakers at the awards luncheon at the Sydney Hilton’s Glass restaurant included Pride In Diversity’s patron, the Hon. Michael Kirby, Olympian and Telstra sporting ambassador Matthew Mitcham, and a panel of CEOs and top executives from some of Australia’s leading public and private sector organisations.

Pride In Diversity director Dawn Hough said the luncheon and awards provided a platform for organisations to highlight the quality of their workplace diversity practices.

“Pride In Diversity is about helping organisations bridge the gap between GLBT employees and management, and today’s awards are an important opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the changes happening in our workplaces — and in our society — that make LGBT people feel like they belong,” Hough said.

“I encourage other organisations and workplaces to show their support for GLBT people and participate in next year’s awards by making a submission to our Australian Workplace Equality Index program.”

Kirby said as most Australians spent most of their lives in the workplace, it was “vital that workplaces are welcoming and supportive places for all employees”.

“This is not only good for the employees concerned, it also benefits employers in terms of reputation, recruitment, retention, productivity and market share,” he said.

“And ultimately, providing the same kind of support mechanisms for GLBT employees as are provided for other minority groups contributes to the ‘fair go’ spirit which we value so highly in Australia.”

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