Gays and lesbians have lower job satisfaction

Published: 22 December 2014 at 10:08

But being open about sexuality helps, shows research by Anglia Ruskin economist

A new study shows that gays and lesbians are less satisfied with their jobs than heterosexual employees.

The report, published in the latest edition of Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, also found that gays and lesbians who have disclosed their sexual orientation receive lower wages but enjoy higher job satisfaction than those who haven’t come out.

The research was carried out by Dr Nick Drydakis, Senior Lecturer in Economics at Anglia Ruskin University, and involved analysing the results of a survey of over 12,000 employees in Athens, Greece.

The findings show that heterosexual employees are always more satisfied than gay and lesbian employees with respect to total pay, promotion prospects, respect received from supervisors, and overall job satisfaction, and women are always more satisfied than men.

To be specific, 33.17% (39.49%) of heterosexual men (women) are satisfied with their total pay, 35.13% (40.27%) are satisfied with their promotion prospects, 37.06% (42.73%) are satisfied with the respect received from their supervisor, and 34.83% (37.16%) are satisfied in terms of total job satisfaction.

However, only 10.98% (12.31%) of gay men (lesbians) are satisfied with their total pay, 17.05% (18.20%) are satisfied with their promotion prospects, 23.27% (28.18%) are satisfied with the respect received from their supervisor, and 15.00% (19.41%) are satisfied in terms of total job satisfaction.

As well as gays and lesbians who have disclosed their sexuality being more satisfied with their jobs than those who had not, the longer ago they disclosed their sexual orientation the more satisfied they are.

Although openly gay men (lesbians) receive 3.1% (5.3%) lower wages than closeted gays, those who have disclosed their homosexuality in their present job more than three years ago receive 1.5% (1.1%) higher wages than those who have come out more recently.

Dr Drydakis said:

“The time since coming out plays a critical role not only in the level of job satisfaction but also in wages.  It is likely that the emotional energy required to maintain the secrecy of a fundamental part of one’s psychological makeup may cause anxiety, stress and job dissatisfaction.
“Good relations between employers and employees increase the openness of minority groups, improve attitudes within the workplace and can benefit the firms as a whole, given that teamwork is a very important aspect of a firm’s productivity and success.
“In addition, wage policies that are clear and applied equally to all employees regardless of sexual orientation can increase workplace satisfaction.”