Consultant launches new global LGBT charity, backed by BCG

15 December 2017

The Boston Consulting Group has announced that it is a founding sponsor of a new global LGBT+ charity. According to research from the UK-based start-up, less than £200,000 of more than £5 million donated to LGBT+ causes leave the UK to aid groups in more hostile nations. To change this, GiveOut aims to provide a unique distribution network to support LGBT rights organisations around the world.

Following a long and difficult struggle, the UK is now broadly thought to be an LGBT+ friendly nation. Despite pockets of resistance to the civil rights movement of community do remain – most notably in Northern Ireland, where special provisions mean gay marriage is still not legally recognised – Britain is considered a world leader, as part of the 24 states which allow for marriage equality. Despite this, of the £5 million donated by UK individuals to LGBT+ causes, a massive 97% is spent in the UK. A sparse £150,000, therefore, makes its way beyond the nation’s borders, to support organisations and international NGOs dedicated to supporting LGBT+ rights in nations where they are totally non-existent, including the 57 nation states which could imprison individuals for up to 14 years, or the eight states which still implement the death penalty for homosexuality.

According to analysis by GiveOut, based on data from the Global Philanthropy Project, just $91 million ever leaves North America and Europe to aid LGBT+ organisations. While this might sound like a large figure, it pales in comparison to other notable charitable causes. The UK-focused National Trust, which focuses on maintaining historic landmarks in the British countryside, rakes in $742 million annually, while the Gates Foundation, launched by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda, commands a mighty $5 billion in funding every year, to help improve health and education worldwide.

GiveOut UK Donors to LGBTQI

GiveOut, which is a newly launched UK charity, aims to change that. GiveOut will work to provide solidarity and financial backing to LGBT+ campaigners across the world, including those based in some of the most hostile environments left in the 21st century. The London-based charity will support a portfolio of causes including grassroots organisations which are currently inaccessible to mainstream donors, and as such, will be the first organisation to enable donors to give to activist-led country and regional organisations outside of the UK, as well as international NGOs.

Founding sponsor

Global consultancy BCG is on board as a founding sponsor, as the firm agreed to fund a major contribution of the start-up, following its launch by Elliot Vaughn, of BCG’s London office. Vaughn was recently marked out for praise by the annual OUTstanding ranking of LGBT+ executives, allies and future leaders, which is aimed at promoting acceptance and diversity in the business environment. The BCG Partner is also a sponsor of various LGBT+ organisations, ranking 36th on the list of 100 LGBT+ Executives in 2017, and earning plaudits for serving on the global leadership of BCG’s LGBT+ network, as well as delivering the keynote address at Pride in the City.

GiveOut global funds to LGBTQI

Speaking on the formation of the new organisation, founder Vaughn – who also becomes the Managing Director of GiveOut – said, “The global LGBTQI movement is underfunded, particularly in the South & East, where in many countries it remains illegal to be gay. Our research shows that in the UK just 3% of [the funds] donated by individuals annually to LGBTQI causes supports non-UK causes... This charity is the first to allow donors to give globally with a single donation and I’m delighted that the Boston Consulting Group have agreed to come on board as a major corporate sponsor.”

The new initiative was announced ahead of this year’s EurOUT conference, hosted in London’s Tower Bridge district in the autumn of 2017. EurOUT is Europe’s leading LGBT conference for graduate students, MBAs, PhDs and alumni from top business schools, where attendees have the opportunity to network with and seek employment from leading companies from around the world. This can also trace its roots back to BCG, having been founded by BCG alumnus Shane Clifford in 2008, after he attended Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) in the US, an event at which he realised a need for a European version of it. BCG has been involved as a headline sponsor throughout its history.

Pascal Cotte, BCG’s Head of Western Europe, said of the firm’s continued commitment to LGBT+ rights, “We have a large LGBT network within the Boston Consulting Group and our alumni, and we are proud to be supporting another venture founded by our talented employees. Diversity and LGBT inclusion is a very important topic for us and our funding of this ground-breaking new charity demonstrates our commitment to this. In particular, BCG is excited by the potential to expand GiveOut in Europe and we are keen to support that.”

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Women remain underrepresented in UK's hospitality industry leadership

12 April 2019

Female engagement at the top level of the UK hospitality industry is still lagging, with the vast majority of decision-making roles continue to be held by men. Only 7% of the industry’s FTSE 350 CEOs are women; however, the pay gap in hospitality and leisure is far better than in other industries, at a median of approximately 7%.

The hospitality, travel and leisure (HTL) sector is one of the UK’s largest employers, with 3.2 million people working in its segments. Despite a poor 2018 in terms of tightening consumer spending, the industry is still one of the top sectors in terms of economic activity, hitting £130 billion last year – besting the UK’s automotive, pharmaceutical and aeronautical sectors’ combined activities.

While the industry is one of the country’s largest employers, it still faces considerable issues around diversity at the top. New analysis from PwC has explored the matter, as well what initiatives the industry has engaged to open up its top ranks to a more diverse background.

Female representation at board level for UK companies and HTLs

According to a survey of CEOs, Chairs or HR Directors of over 100 of the most significant leisure businesses across the UK, the hospitality industry has a relatively male-dominated top level. This lags behind the FTSE 100, where companies have female board level representation at 32.2%. Meanwhile, the figure for the combined executive committee and direct reports stands at 28%. This is well above FTSE 250 levels, where female board level representation stands at 22.4% and executive committee & direct reports stand at 27.8%.

For the hospitality industry as a whole, board level representation came in at 23.6%, with FTSE 350 for the industry performing slightly better at 25.1%, while non-listed companies performed considerably worse at 18.2%. The firm notes that the figures hide that while some companies are making strides to improve equality, others are not moving forward – with the positive result reflecting more often the good work of some, while others are not taking the issue seriously in their agenda setting.

Blind spot

The study states, however, that while the overall numbers are relatively strong, the industry has a number of acute weaknesses. These include CEO numbers, with only 7% of HTL FTSE 350 companies helmed by women and 11% of non-listed companies led by female CEOs. Meanwhile, female chairs at FTSE 350 companies for the sector stand at zero. In terms of wider diversity representation, only 1 in 33 leaders at industry companies is from a BAME background.

Pay gap for HTL and hospitality

The report noted discrepancies between FTSE 100 companies and FTSE 250 in terms of improving the number of women at executive level. The majority have met the Hampton-Alexander Review target of 33% women at board level, up from around 25% in 2016. However, the remaining ~40% are not on target, and are unlikely to meet the target by 2020. A similar trend is noted when it comes to executive committee and direct reporting numbers.

Jon Terry, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting Leader at PwC, said, "To make real progress in diversity and inclusion, businesses need to elevate it onto the CEO’s agenda and align diversity & inclusion strategy to the fundamentals of the business."

Tracking progress FTSE 250 level

However, one area where hospitality travel and leisure companies are outperforming other companies in the wider UK economy, is the mean and median pay gap between men and women. PwC found that the median of the wider UK economy comes is approximately 14% – with upper quartile companies noted for a gap of low 20%, and lower quartile companies noted for differences of around 2%.

The median pay gap for HTL comes in at well below 7%, with the median close to parity. There are considerable differences, however, with hospitality at 7%, while travel comes in considerably higher, at 22%. The latter figure reflects fewer women in higher paid pilot and technical positions within the industry.