A new study has found that gay employees are less likely to be promoted to high-level management positions compared with straight peers with the same experience and education.
IZA Institute of Labor Economics released a discussion paper during Pride month confirming the existence of a “gay glass ceiling” that other smaller studies had previously identified.
The study found that while British gay men are more likely to become managers or supervisors, they will also be more likely remain in lower level management jobs while their straight counterparts progress higher.
The study also found that women and minorities face a glass ceiling effect like those in the U.S. do, suggesting that the gay glass ceiling may exist for men in America.
“It’s possible society holds gay men to a higher standard,” Christopher Carpenter, author and professor at Vanderbilt University, said. “Gay men really have to get a ton of education to overcome the disadvantage in the workplace that comes with being gay.”
The authors also suggest that a stereotype exists that a more successful upper-level manager is seen as straight and that prevents gay men from gaining respect.
“Gay men may be penalized for not being perceived to have the stereotypically male heterosexual traits thought to be required among managers,” they write.
The study analyzed responses from the 645,000 working-age adults who participated in the UK Integrated Household Survey. The survey’s massive size provided responses from more than 6,000 individuals who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, asking them about management responsibility and sexual orientation.
The study also noted that less evidence existed of discrimination against lesbians compared to straight working women, but Carpenter wrote that many forces keep all women out of the labor force, including family responsibilities. The study also said that while bisexual men and women were less likely to be supervisors or managers, their relatively low numbers prevented any conclusions to be reached.
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