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.
“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.”
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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.
The study also found that aside from sexual orientation, women and people of colour generally face a higher glass ceiling.
“Non-white men and women show a general disadvantage compared to white men and women,” the study states.
The researchers also found gay men of colour are less likely to hold a higher-position managerial job than white gay men.
Women, on the whole, are significantly less likely to report managerial and/or supervisory authority compared to men, the paper states.
Earlier this year, research by the charity Stonewall found many workers in the UK are still afraid to come out to colleagues, despite protections against discrimination in the workplace.
The survey found that 35 percent of LGBT people in the UK remain in the closet to co-workers.
One in five (18 percent) said they had been a victim of a abuse from colleagues due to their sexuality or transgender identity.