A new study commissioned by the World Bank and released by the IZA World of Labor, has revealed that it is financially beneficial to be a lesbian in the working world, but not to be a gay man.
The study – researched by Dr Nick Drydakis – included the UK, the US, Europe, Canada and Australia – countries where sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws have been adopted.
According to the study, “Fewer than 20% of countries have adopted sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws in employment, and 2.7 billion people live in countries where being gay or lesbian is a crime.”
However, there is still a sexuality-based wage gap – lesbians can expect to earn up to 20% more than their straight female counterparts in the US, 11% in Germany and 8% in the UK. Though they earn a whopping 28% less in Australia.
The study suggests that this majorly positive outcome for lesbian employees is still based on antiquated stereotyping of sexuality and gender roles – lesbians are believed to be less likely to become pregnant and “it is suggested that for women, professional skills are not always sufficient to signal authority and competence and that masculine characteristics, which stereotypically characterize lesbians, can serve an external signaling function in the workplace.”
It’s not a good sign for the men – gay men, on average, can expect to earn 5% less than straight men in the UK, 9% in Germany and 16% in the US.
According to the study, wages are not the only unjust aspect of being gay in the workplace:
[…] gays and lesbians still experience more obstacles to getting a job, lower job satisfaction, earning bias (especially gay men), and more bullying and harassment than their heterosexual counterparts.
[…] studies from countries with laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation suggest that people who are identified as gay or lesbian during the initial stage of the hiring process are discriminated against in favor of heterosexual applicants with comparable skills and experience. This pattern is observed in studies carried out in Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Sweden, the US, the UK, and Canada.
However, gays and lesbians who are open about their sexuality in work are more likely to report high job satisfaction than those who aren’t.
“These findings imply that legislative protection constitutes only a small step toward improving the employment circumstances and general well-being of people who are gay or lesbian,” Drydakis said.