10 Surprising Facts About Being LGBT In The Workplace

A woman at work in a blouse using a tablet, just like the LGBT in the workplace nowadays

Do gay men earn more or less than their straight counterparts? What about lesbians? Check out this infographic to find out


Equal rights at work was the most important concern for LGBT people when the National LGBT Federation’s first Burning Issues survey was published in 2009.

Six years later it’s not the leading issue, but findings from Burning Issues 2 and surveys across the world suggest there is a way to go for LGBTs in the Irish workplace.


An infographic of being LGBT on the job


  • 66% of Irish LGBTs are out to all of their colleagues at work. This finding from Burning Issues 2 also shows that 87% are out to some colleagues, leaving 34% who are not fully out at work, and 13% who are completely closeted in their jobs.


  • €703.83 is the average weekly earning in Ireland in 2016, a rise of 0.5% from one year earlier according to preliminary estimates of the Central Statistics Office’s quarterly release.


  • A 2013 study in Canada found that gay people were more likely than straight people to take jobs that were atypical for their gender.


  • Although Canada, the US and the EU have some of the strongest protections of lesbian and gay workers’ rights, the gay pay gap is particularly pronounced in these territories.


  • Less than 20% of the countries in the world have adopted sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws in the workplace.


  • Gay men earn 5% less than straight men. These figures are for the UK and differences are starker in other nations, according to a study commissioned by the World Bank and the economic research institute IZA World of Labor. The pay premium for lesbians rises to 11% in Germany, 15% in Canada and 20% in the US, while gay men can expect to lose out on 9%, 12% and 16% in those respective countries.


  • Lesbians earn 8% more than straight women. The Gay-Straight Wage Gap is reflective of a larger trend that favours masculinity in the workplace. Gay men are still out-earning straight women, and lesbians, who may be, as Waite and Denier write, “perceived as less feminine and closer to the unencumbered male ideal,” also out-earn straight women.


  • Openly gay men in the workplace “may upset conventional assumptions about gender, and so their contributions to the rm and their leadership abilities may not be properly evaluated and they can be overlooked for promotions.” – Dr Nick Drydakis, senior economics lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University.


  • The pay gap between men and women in Ireland is 14.4% (Data from Eurostat, the European Union’s official statistics body.)


  • “Lesbians may be willing to make a series of career- oriented decisions, such as staying in school longer, choosing a degree that is likely to lead to a higher paying job, and working longer hours.” and they “tend to self- select into male-dominated occupations that may o er higher salaries.” – Dr Nick Drydakis


  • TRANS PAY DROP. A study published in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy found that the earnings of female transgender workers fell by nearly one-third following their gender transitions. The same study found that the earnings of male transgender workers slightly increased following their transition. As such, transgender men may actually experience a wage advantage rather than a wage penalty.


  • Highest-paying Jobs – A study, done by two Ph.D. candidates in sociology at Canada’s McGill University, Sean Waite and Nicole Denier, found that gay people were nearly twice as likely to hold a bachelor’s degree than straight people—a level of education that tends to grant them some of the best-paying occupations, such as lawyers, psychologists, and managers. Gay men and lesbians were overrepresented among the 15 highest-paying jobs.


This infographic originally appeared in GCN’s October 2016 Workplace / Diversity issue which can be picked up from the usual venues or GCN can be read online here.

© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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