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Gay and Lesbian Job Seekers Still Face Discrimination

Gay Discrimination

In a recent post, I looked at the way gay and lesbian workers are discriminated against in terms of their earnings. An Australian study found that gay men tend to earn around 20 percent less than their heterosexual peers.

See Also: Could Your Sexuality Be Affecting Your Income?

A recent study from academics at Anglia Ruskin University, and published in Human Relations, suggests that this discrimination is not limited to our pay packets. It suggests that there is significant discrimination against homosexual candidates during the recruitment process, with both private and public organisations guilty.

The research saw nearly 150 young people send off over 11,000 job applications in a bid to enter the workforce for the first time. The results revealed that both gay men and women were around 5 percent less likely to receive an interview offer than their heterosexual peers, even when skills and experience were identical.

As with the Australian study, the discrimination appeared to extend through to the salaries on offer too, with the companies that offered gay men an interview paying roughly 2 percent less than the companies who offered straight men an interview.  Lesbian women suffered a 1.4 percent drop in average pay.

Being Gay in the Workplace

The results revealed that gay men struggled especially in industries and professions that are traditionally dominated by men, such as banking, management and accounting. Likewise, lesbians received very few interview offers from occupations that are dominated by women, such as social services and social care.

In those male dominated sectors, there wasn’t a single instance of a gay man being offered an interview but not a straight man, whereas there were numerous instances of the reverse being the case.

The same was the case for lesbians attempting to break into the so called ’caring professions’.

Gay candidates were identified by virtue of making a prominent mention on their CV of involvement with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Society at their university. Of the 2,312 students involved in the study, 72 fell into this category, although none of them actively mentioned their sexuality on their CV.

All of the potential candidates were 21 year old final year undergraduates of British nationality, with each of them expected to achieve a 2:1 classification in their chosen degree.

The candidates were paired up and asked to apply for over 5,000 jobs that had been advertised on the largest recruitment websites in the UK over several months.

"Because of the limited research carried out so far into the experiences of gays and lesbians in the labour market, the disadvantages and discrimination they experience has gone unnoticed and therefore unchallenged. Despite measures to encourage openness and discourage discrimination, including the introduction of the Equality Act of 2010, it is evident from my research that gays and lesbians are encountering serious misconceptions and barriers in the job market," the authors say.

"It is also clear that people who face biased treatment in the hiring process must spend more time and resources finding jobs, and firms lose potential talent as a result of biased hiring," they conclude.

See Also: The 7 Worst Countries for Gay People to Live and Work In

I’d love to hear your experiences if you are a gay person trying to enter the workforce. Have you experienced anything like that found in the research?

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