Gay employees are less likely to be promoted to high-level managerial positions, study finds

Gay employees face a “glass ceiling” when it comes to reaching the highest-level managerial positions, a new study has found.

Research published by the IZA Institute of Labour Economics in Germany found gay employees are less likely to be promoted to higher-level management jobs than their heterosexual counterparts, despite having the similar work experience and education.

The study, which uses data from the 2009 to 2014 UK Integrated Household Surveys, found the trend appears to be driven by discrimination, rather than different skills or characteristics.

It also shows the barrier is stronger for racial minorities.

“We are the first to document that gay men and lesbians are significantly more likely to have objective measures of workplace authority compared to otherwise similar heterosexual men and women,” the researchers write in the paper.

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“However, we also find clear evidence that gay men face glass ceilings: their higher likelihood of attaining workplace authority is driven entirely by their significantly higher odds of being low-level managers.

“In fact, gay men are significantly less likely than comparable heterosexual men to be in the highest-level managerial positions that come with higher status and pay.”

According to the researchers, the results for women are “less clear cut.”

Lesbians were found to be less likely to have a managerial job but were more likely to manage others at work.

“Bisexual men and women are both significantly less likely than otherwise similar heterosexual adults to have any of the types of workplace authority,” the researchers found.

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