It's no secret that gender
plays a major role in the labour market.
Women in full-time employment
currently earn around 13.9% less than male
colleagues in the same roles as them over the course of their
careers - this is known as the gender pay
Research on the gender pay gap has
generally focused on how gender affects what employees earn and
overlooked how other factors - such as sexuality - influence the
pay gap. It's only recently that more studies have begun analysing
and comparing rates of pay between straight and LGBT workers,
unearthing some interesting trends. Studies have shown that
straight men tend to earn more than gay men, and - interestingly -
that lesbians earn more than straight women.
Are lesbian employees really
less affected by the gender pay gap?
Even though it might seem like
lesbian employees are at an advantage in the workplace compared to
straight women, the unfortunate reality is that all women are still
at a disadvantage in comparison to their male colleagues. On top of
this, gender isn't the only culprit responsible for the difference
in pay between men and women.
A number of factors contribute to
and sustain the gender pay gap, including:
even though it's unlawful for employers to discriminate against
their employees based on gender or sexuality, women still tend to
earn less than male colleagues doing the same roles as
A divided labour
market - women are more likely to be in low paid and low
skilled jobs compared to men.
schemes - staff should be able to identify how each
element of pay contributes to their earnings in any pay period. The
practice of awarding discretionary bonuses, i.e. those awarded
other than by reference to objective criteria, have significantly
contributed to the gender pay gap
responsibilities - women usually play a greater role in
caring for their children as well as elderly or sick relatives.
Employers need to review their current flexible working offering so
as to avoid leaking female talent.
talent - when employers are trying to persuade an
individual from another competitor to join their business, they
might have to negotiate and even increase the salary offered to
convince the individual to join their business, thereby widening
the pay gap.
Pay secrecy -
preventing employees from discussing salary with colleagues is now
unlawful but the research shows that women remain reluctant to
raise wage concerns with management. Employers could do more to
make salary discussions more comfortable, i.e. during regular
Men tend to negotiate harder
for their salaries - statistics have proven that men are
more likely to change their job role and/or leave their employer,
and negotiate harder than women for higher salaries, which also
perpetuates the pay gap.
The odds are stacked against women
at work, but with the government implementing reporting provisions
as part of the Equality Act 2010, this is a step in the right
From April 2018 employers with at
least 250 employees will have to publish their gender pay gap and
in doing so, address the causes of their gender pay gap. Regardless
of your gender or sexuality, your pay should reflect your expertise
and the value that you can bring to a business.
If you would like to know more about
how the new gender pay gap reporting requirements are likely to
affect your workplace, call Simpson Millar Employment
Solicitors on 0800 260 5005 or visit
request a call-back.
More like this
Would you like to see more out lesbians and bi women in senior role
model positions at work?
Top US women's footballers demand equal pay
Saying "bi" to workplace discrimination
Workplace sexism: a thing of the past?
Only reading DIVA online? You're
missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the
latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so
divadirect.co.uk // divasub.co.uk // divadigital.co.uk