LGBTQ+ women are being failed in Irish workplace, report suggests

A new report has found that LGBTQ+ women are the most likely to live 'paycheque-to-paycheque' and often face discrimination in the workplace.

A new report has found that LGBTQ+ Women are discriminated in the workplace. The image is an overhead shot of a person with long plaited hair sitting at a table with papers and a laptop.
Image: Jacob Lund via Shutterstock

According to a report published by global consultancy group Robert Walters, Irish LGBTQ+ women are being let down in the workplace, with more than 50% of respondents feeling that they are being unfairly paid.

The survey, which was conducted over a three-year period, recorded responses from 6,000 professionals in Ireland and the UK, 2,000 of whom were Irish.

When compared to heterosexual men and women and LGBTQ+ men, queer women were identified to be the most likely cohort living ‘paycheque-to-paycheque’. They were also 10% less likely to be promoted than their male counterparts.

It also found that a quarter of LGBTQ+ women claim to have experienced discrimination in the workplace, and as many as 1 in 5 said they don’t trust their leaders to defend “what is right”.

When it came to seeking an increase in pay, 53% of queer women said they lacked the confidence or were embarrassed to negotiate pay raises with their current employer. This statistic proved to be the most damaging when compared to only 20% of heterosexual women, 17% of LGBTQ+ men, and 14% of heterosexual men reporting the same. 

Moreover, the analysis found that on the occasions where pay rises had been negotiated, LGBTQ+ women had the lowest success rate at only 22%. In comparison, LGBTQ+ men and heterosexual men had 31% and 30% success, respectively, and heterosexual women were 28% successful.


Speaking about the importance of the research, Suzanne Feeney, Country Manager of Robert Walters Ireland, said, “We have been carrying out this research annually for three years now, and whilst there are some improvements to be celebrated – we continue to see the presence of negative experiences of minority or marginalised groups in the workplace.”

She continued, “The dial has been pushed on gender pay transparency – but this report highlights a more concerning issue that for LGBTQi+ women, it appears to be much harder for them to even approach the idea of negotiating for a better salary or a promotion.”

Calling on employers to take action following the report, she emphasised, “These differences cannot go on, and in light of Lesbian Visibility Week, I urge all employers to start diving deeper into the experiences of LGBTQi+ professionals in the workplace.”

The report also reviewed the pay gap between the cohorts, again finding that LGBTQ+ women were the most disenfranchised, earning less than half that of their male counterparts.

It should be noted that the findings of this report did not differentiate between cis, trans or non-binary people.

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