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Gay and bisexual men still earn less – study

Compared to heterosexuals, gay men earned on average 6.8% less, and bisexual men 10.3% less. Meanwhile, bisexual women earned 5.1% less than heterosexual women, while lesbian women earned 7.1% more than heterosexual women.

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A new study has found that gay and bisexual men are still earning less than heterosexual men even in locations where there is legislation aimed at reducing discrimination in the workplace.

The study – “Sexual orientation and earnings: A meta‑analysis 2012–2020” – appeared in Journal of Population Economics, with researchers from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) analyzing 24 studies published between 2012 and 2020 covering countries in Europe, North America and Australia. Their analysis found that gay men earned on average 6.8% less than heterosexual men across all countries covered in the study.

Bisexual men earned 10.3% less than heterosexual men on average, while bisexual women earned 5.1% less than heterosexual women. Lesbian women earned 7.1% more than heterosexual women.

In the UK, gay and bisexual men together earned 4.7% less than heterosexual men, and in the US they earned 10.9% less.

Interesting, in the UK, workplace prejudice against individuals due to their sexual orientation or sex is already prohibited under the Equality Act of 2010. But despite this legislation, the research suggests that gay men and bisexual men and women still earn less than their heterosexual counterparts.

“The persistence of earnings penalties for gay men and bisexual men and women in the face of anti-discrimination policies represents a cause for concern,” said Professor Nick Drydakis, author of the study and Director of the Centre for Pluralist Economics at ARU. 

For Drydakis, legislation and workplace guidelines should guarantee that people receive the same pay and not experience any form of workplace bias simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity status.

“Inclusive policies should embrace diversity by encouraging under-represented groups to apply for jobs or promotions and providing support to LGBTIQ+ employees to raise concerns and receive fair treatment,” Drydakis said. “Standing against discrimination and celebrating and supporting LGBTIQ+ diversity should form a part of HR policies.”

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