November 23, 2016

Bisexuals also experience a wage gap

A new study from the American Sociological Review has found evidence of a bisexual pay gap. Unlike other pay gaps, which can be explained away by factors such as having children or working fewer hours, this one is more difficult to explain.

From a sample of 100,000 people, the study found a 7% to 28% wage gap for bisexual women and an 11% to 28% wage gap for bisexual men when compared with their heterosexual counterparts. Previous studies have found that the wage gap for gay men is 5%. Similar studies have found that lesbians earn more than heterosexual women.

Parenting choices are a big factor when accounting for wage gaps. The “fatherhood bonus” boosts men’s earnings more than 6%. Gay men are less likely to have children, so fewer receive the bonus. The “motherhood penalty” costs women 4% in wages for every child they have, the same research found. Since lesbian women are less likely to have children, they won’t necessarily face the same penalty heterosexual women do. 

Trenton D. Mize, the study’s author, found that marriage and motherhood explained little if any of the wage gaps for either bisexual men or bisexual women.

Mize concludes that the explanation for the wage gap is stereotyping and discrimination. In previous research he found that bisexual men and women are viewed as more immature and dishonest and less capable and competent than heterosexual or gay people.

Nick Drydakis, writing about Sexual orientation and labor market outcomes, advises employers to collaborate with gay and lesbian workers to make the workplace an inclusive environment for people of all sexual orientations, and to provide equal career development opportunities for people of a minority sexual orientation.

He says, “Increasing workplace awareness of sexual orientation issues, by helping workers feel more confident about openly expressing their minority sexual orientation, constitutes good business practice by giving firms a reputation for non-discrimination and thus deepening their recruitment pool.”

Related articles:
Sexual orientation and labor market outcomes, by Nick Drydakis

We’ve put together a collection of articles on workplace discrimination.