Gays earning less in workplace, study shows

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Anti discrimination policies in the workplace do not appear to have had an impact on wages for gay employees, research suggests.

A study by the Centre for Economic Performance published in its CentrePiece magazine today, found that despite having equal opportunity legislation regarding sexual orientation in the workplace since December 2003, gay men are still paid around 6% less than heterosexual colleagues.

The findings also showed that lesbians are paid around 11% more than their straight counterparts.

The authors, Reza Arabsheibani of the University of Wales, Alan Marin at the London School of Economics and Jonathan Wadsworth at Royal Holloway College analysed 35 months of data before Equal Opportunities legislation and 21 months after, and found there was little difference in the status of gay men living together as couples after the law.

They suggest that pay discrepancies also emerge when looking at gay couples in groups of age, education, race and religion.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay charity Stonewall, who played a big part in the introduction and promotion of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, questioned the relevance of the study, he told “It looks at a small cohort of people, 800 in total, in terms of economic data that’s not a good example, there may be gay couples with more that one household, so it may underestimate the level of affluence.

“Clearly there are gay men who face economic disadvantage, but there are also lesbians who do.

“The idea that in 2003 the labour market was transformed is an impractical perception.”