NATIONWIDE is celebrating after being named in the top 100 employers in a gay rights charity’s ranking of firms with good equality records.

Stonewall released its Equality index, a list of top employers, earlier this week and the Swindon-based building society came in at 86th on the list.

The position in the chart is an improvement on last year’s position of 92nd, which also earned the company a mention as a star performer.

Niki Pallett, retail credit risk analyst, who is chair of the LGBT network Supporting our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender colleagues across the Society (SOLCATS), believes the award is well deserved.

She said: “I am delighted that Stonewall has recognised Nationwide as a top 100 lesbian, gay and bisexual employer.

“It is recognition of the hard work of the employee-led network, the culture and inclusion team in HR as well as all those involved across the Society who have really built on the success of last year, when we entered the top 100 as the most improved employer.

“Nationwide has a really inclusive culture and the improvement in the index is testament to this. The creation of the SOLCATS network in 2011 has given LGBT colleagues an organised, board-level supported group that gives us an important presence in the business, and doubles as an informal support network.”

Nikki says she would have no hesitation recommending the company to anyone from the LGBT community.

“Personally, I have never felt hesitant to talk about my home-life to colleagues or felt the need to hide the fact that I am a lesbian at Nationwide, which goes to show how great the culture is here. It really is a non-issue,” she said.

“All employees understand the importance of a diverse workplace and the positive effects this has for our people.”

Social housing company Gentoo finished top of the list.

Simon Feeke, Stonewall head of workplace said: “Congratulations to Nationwide for their performance in the 2014 Workplace Equality Index.

“With the most demanding criteria to date, every employer securing a position in the Top 100 has performed impressively. In a tough economic environment, where employers need all of their staff to perform to their full potential, the Index remains a powerful tool for giving employers a strong competitive edge and attracting the best staff, regardless of their sexual orientation.”