A European study has revealed that openly gay people are 40% less likely to be offered a job interview compared to those who do not disclose their sexuality.
The research, by Dr Nick Drydakis, a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Anglia Ruskin University, is published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Manpower.
Four fake job applications, two for each sex, were submitted in response to positions that were advertised on six online job sites in Cyprus.
Dr Drydakis sent out a total of 9,062 job applications for a range of work environments such as offices, industry, cafes, restaurants and shops.
The covering letters and CVs contained almost identical qualifications and levels of experience, and were for 30-year-old Cypriot nationals, male and female, who were unmarried.
The only difference was in the ‘interests’ section, where one fictitious applicant had been a volunteer for an environmental charity while the other had been a member-volunteer in the Cypriot Homosexual Association.
Dr Drydakis’ survey found that the probability of gay male applicants receiving an invitation for a job interview was 39.0% lower than that for heterosexual male applicants. The situation was even more pronounced for the lesbian applicants, who were 42.7% less likely to receive an interview offer compared to heterosexual female applicants.
Lesbian applicants were invited for interviews by companies paying salaries that were 5.8% lower, on average, than those paid by firms that invited the heterosexual female applicants for interviews, and this pay gap increased to 9.2% for gay male applicants compared to heterosexual males.
“The hiring process is perhaps the single most important part of the employment relationship, but is the least understood,” said Dr Drydakis.
“What is clear is that people who face biased treatment in the hiring process must spend more time and resources finding jobs, and at the same time firms are missing out on potential talent as a result of biased hiring.
“The results of this study in Cyprus show that these differences in offer rates and salaries can lead to significant welfare losses for gay and lesbian job seekers,” he said.
In the UK, the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report How Fair is Britain? suggests that sexual orientation can result in job dismissals, wage discrimination, and the failure to promote gay and lesbians to higher-status jobs.