Melbourne’s gay business group, Gay and Lesbian Organisation of Business and Enterprise (GLOBE), has welcomed a published list of the world’s top five GLBT-friendly corporations.

The International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (IGLCC) released the second edition of its International Business Equality Index this month, with IBM, Google, the BT Group, Morgan Stanley and Cisco Systems proving the most queer-friendly.

GLOBE secretary Michaela Skelly told Southern Star companies actively showing off their rainbow credentials were more likely to be sought after workplaces for gay and lesbian businesspeople.

“If I was looking for a corporate job I would definitely look at these companies to work for,” Skelly said.

“I think being a lesbian in business, it’s easier if you’ve got a partner and you can come out and say, ‘this is my partner’, and people are okay.

“But if you don’t have a partner and are a lesbian out there, you can’t really out yourself as easily at work. It can be difficult.”

Skelly said while she’d assumed most people would be out in their workplaces, a survey of GLOBE members last year proved this wasn’t the case.

“We asked people whether they were out and then whether they were out in the workplace,” she said.

“I’d say over 95 percent said they were out [to friends and family], but only 75 percent said they were out at work.

IBM Australia general manager Mark Latchford told Southern Star the computer giant was proud to be recognised for creating an inclusive working environment.

“For IBM, diversity is the bridge between the workplace and the marketplace, and integrating these two is vital if we are to compete in a fast-changing, diverse global environment,” he said.

“In 1984 IBM was one of the first major companies to implement a non-discrimination policy for GLBT employees, and 26 years on, we continue to build a more inclusive work environment through a range of programs.”

June is Pride month at IBM and the company’s GLBT staff social networking group, EAGLE (Employee Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Empowerment), operates worldwide.

IBM also runs GLBT leadership development conferences and business forums and is a sponsor of Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival.

A newcomer to the list this year is web search-engine giant, Google.

Google Australia and New Zealand Talent and Outreach Programs specialist Isa Notermans told Southern Star the company was delighted to be recognised for supporting its gay and lesbian employees.

“We believe the only way to reach our goal is through employing a large base of intellectually and culturally diverse, forward-thinking people,” she said.

Google also has a GLBT employee group called Gayglers.

This year 42 companies registered for the IGLCC’s Index, more than double the number in 2009.

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