LGBTQ Employees Are Paid 16% Less Than Straight Colleagues, Research Suggests

The research found that discrimination is still a problem in British workplaces.

LGBTQ people take home on average £6,703 less per year than their straight colleagues, new research has found.

The research, which found that prejudice is prevalent in the workplace, follows a spike in activity around LinkedIn members discussing being ‘out’ at work on the networking platform, with more than twice as many posts about this topic during Pride month.

The research, conducted in partnership with leading LGBTQ organisation Black Pride, was carried out by YouGov, and surveyed 4,000 UK workers who identified as being straight, gay, bisexual or other.

More than a fifth of LGBTQ respondents said they have experienced verbal abuse in the office, almost two thirds (61%) of LGBTQ workers admitted they have been made to feel uncomfortable at work and 35% of the LGBTQ community have witnessed homophobic behaviour at work.

This may help explain why a quarter of all LGBTQ respondents are not open about their sexuality at work.

More than a quarter (28%) cited fear of judgement by their colleagues as a key reason for not being out, with 14% actually feeling that their chances of promotion in their company would be hindered if they were to come out.

The study also looked at the experiences of the transgender community, for which the income gap against their straight counterparts stands at a high 14%, or £5,340 of annual income.

London gets ready for Pride.
London gets ready for Pride.

One fifth of transgender respondents admitted to feeling constantly uncomfortable about their identity at work, while almost half (49%) of transgender respondents had experienced judgmental comments from colleagues.

Joshua Graff, UK country manager at LinkedIn, who commissioned the research, said he didn’t come out at work until much later than when he came out to his close friends and family.

He said: “Concealing such a huge part of your life from colleagues can be extremely stressful and takes up energy that could be spent excelling at your job.

“Pride is a fantastic celebration of how far LGBTQ rights have progressed, but the stories shared by LinkedIn members and the results of this research shows that we still have a long way to go.”

Suki Sandhu, chief executive and founder of INvolve, said the research was important in reminding organisations that inclusion should be at the top of their agenda.

He said: “Although we have seen progress in the workplace for LGBTQ people, it is clear that there are still substantial issues which can make it difficult for individuals to thrive professionally as their authentic selves.”

He said LGBTQ people are at all levels of a business, whether they’re out or not, so it’s crucial to have inclusive environments.

“It’s not only morally right, but it also strengthens the bottom line,” he added.

LGBTQ employees of colour may also experience racism as well, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, executive director and co-founder of Black Pride said.

“The more we hear from LGBTQ employees, the more we begin to understand that the fight for equality is far from over,” she said.

She added that he would like to encourage companies to work with organisations like UK Black Pride all year round and not just during Pride month “to better incorporate meaningful and effective change in their organisations”.


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