The gay pay gap

The gay pay gap

You’ve heard of the gender pay gap, but what about the gay pay gap?

You’ve heard of the gender pay gap, but what about the gay pay gap?

While the phrase ‘end of financial year’ has a variety of meanings for those in the financial services industry, it has only one for those in HR – salary reviews. There is much to consider when reviewing the remuneration of your employees including performance, skills, experience and the market.

It has also been well publicised in recent years that there is a significant gender pay gap in the workforce. The current pay gap sits at 16% and has been hovering between 15% and 19% over the past 20 years. But perhaps less publicised is what is referred to as the ‘gay pay gap’.

Haven’t heard of the gay pay gap? Here’s a rundown.

A 2015 study by the University of Melbourne found that sexual orientation affects wages in the workplace with homosexual men being paid up to 18% less than their heterosexual equivalents. However, when looking at the gay pay gap in women, the findings showed that homosexual women were the ones to earn a higher wage. More specifically, lesbians earned at least 33% more than their heterosexual counterparts. The gay pay gap is not an issue isolated to Australia with studies conducted in Europe and the US finding similar results.

In summary, the studies found that if you are a heterosexual male then you will be paid the highest wages, followed by homosexual males and homosexual females, with heterosexual females sitting in at last place with the lowest wages.

So, what does the gender pay gap and the gay pay gap have to do with remuneration reviews? Unfortunately, the evidence is clear that there is a bias in the workplace (whether it is unconscious or not) in relation to employees based on their gender and sexual orientation. It is important for HR and management to consider this when undertaking salary reviews and to do their part in bringing about equity to the workplace.

Further, if this wasn’t reason enough, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is unlawful in Australia and no organisation wants a messy discrimination case on their hands!


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