Sector Overview

The government looks after our national affairs such as health, education,
international trade and the environment. It’s responsible for the general welfare of citizens and helps protect the most vulnerable people in society. There are a range of opportunities to work within the government sector, for example in a ministerial department, the Houses of Parliament or a non-executive agency.

Stonewall works with a large number of departments and agencies across the
UK. A large majority have their own LGBT networks, and there are also two major cross-government LGBT networks; the Civil Service LGBT Network and a:gender, a network for trans and intersex staff.

The civil service is a large employer and there are varied roles across the sector, including through the ‘fast stream’ talent management programme for graduates and in paid internships.

What staff in the sector told us
“The workplace culture in my organisation is inclusive of trans people” – 63% of LGBT employees said yes
“I would feel comfortable disclosing my sexual orientation to my colleagues” – 51% of LGB employees said yes
“Senior managers in my organisation demonstrate visible commitment to trans equality” – 51% of LGBT employees said yes
“If I was a victim of homophobic and biphobic bullying and harassment, I would feel confident in reporting it to my employer” – 82% of LGB employees said yes

2018 Workplace Equality Index statistics

52% of organisations’ network groups have formal ways to make sure bi and trans issues are represented (such as bi and trans committee reps)
73% of organisations provide guidance for managers on how to support a colleague who’s transitioning

In Focus

Government - Mothusi Turner photo

Mothusi Turner, China Bilateral Trade Policy Lead, Department for International Trade

How did you come to work in the Civil Service?

I started out in the Civil Service as an intern on a summer diversity scheme in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and later worked as an intern for the EU at their office in Taiwan. After returning to the UK, I joined the Civil Service Fast Stream programme, which eventually led me to my current role preparing for the UK’s future trade and investment relationship with China.

What’s it like being LGBT in the Civil Service?
The Civil Service is a fantastic place to work if you’re LGBT. Diversity is really valued and there’s no expectation to conform to any given mould. In my department, the senior leadership have been extremely supportive of LGBT equality and inclusion, there are plenty of amazing LGBT role models, and non-LGBT staff show their support by wearing rainbow lanyards and educating themselves about different identities. It’s important that anyone who walks through our doors, whether it’s a new member of staff, a company CEO or a foreign trade negotiator, knows that it’s a place where people can bring their whole selves to work.

At work, how do you think being LGBT relates to other parts of your identity?
I’m a gay, mixed-race man from a multi-cultural background and I see these different aspects of my identity as equally important ingredients in the recipe that makes me who I am. However, what I like about the Civil Service is that it’s not these attributes that determine success, but my work performance. Diversity is welcomed and respected, but ultimately recruitment and progression are blind and based purely on merit.

What advice would you give to an LGBT person thinking about a career in the Civil Service?
The Civil Service has its own, highly collaborative, culture. It’s about improving the lives of UK taxpayers and serving the government of the day to the best of your ability. Consider carefully what motivates you and take a good look at the Civil Service competency framework and success profiles online.