Gay men have historically made less than their straight counterparts, but a new report in the Harvard Business Review indicates the tables have finally turned: Gay men are now actually earning 10% more than heterosexual males with similar skill sets, responsibilities, education levels and years of experience.
Prior research revealed a “earnings penalty” that saw gay men making from 5% to 10% less than their straight peers. Vanderbilt University economics professor Kitt Carpenter suggests that improved attitudes toward LGBT people is a likely factor in why that penalty has disappeared.
But it doesn’t explain the trend in the other direction.
“While ’It Gets Better’ seems reasonable for explaining the gradual disappearance of an earnings penalty, it does not seem well suited for explaining the emergence of an earnings premium,” writes Carpenter. “Did it really get that much better?”
And studies indicate lesbians have earned more than straight women with similar job profiles for decades. Why are things only shifting now for gay men?
Despite the salary shift, anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace is still an issue in the U.S., where only a patchwork of state laws provide protection: More than four in ten LGBT workers report having experienced verbal or physical abuse at work and 7% have lost jobs because of their orientation.
One report found that resumes indicating an applicant was LGBT received 30% fewer callbacks.