Gay Glass Ceilings: Sexual Orientation and Workplace Authority in the UK

47 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2018

See all articles by Cevat Giray Aksoy

Cevat Giray Aksoy

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; King’s College London; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Christopher S. Carpenter

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeff Frank

University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics

Matt Huffman

University of California, Irvine

Abstract

A burgeoning literature has examined earnings inequalities associated with a minority sexual orientation, but far less is known about sexual orientation-based differences in access to workplace authority – in contrast to well-documented gender and race-specific differences. We provide the first large-scale evidence on this question using confidential data from the 2009-2014 UK Integrated Household Surveys (IHS) (N = 607,709). We are the first to document that gay men and lesbians are significantly more likely to have objective measures of workplace authority compared to otherwise similar heterosexual men and women. However, we also find clear evidence that gay men face glass ceilings: their higher likelihood of attaining workplace authority is driven entirely by their significantly higher odds of being low-level managers.In fact, gay men are significantly less likely than comparable heterosexual men to be in the highest-level managerial positions that come with higher status and pay. Oaxaca decompositions suggest that this differential access to workplace authority for gay men is due to discrimination as opposed to different skills and characteristics. Moreover, this "gay glass ceiling" is stronger for racial minorities than for whites. Corresponding effects for lesbians exist but are notably weaker. These results provide the first direct evidence of social stratification in the workplace associated with a minority sexual orientation and reveal that differences are exacerbated for individuals with multiple marginalized identities.

Keywords: sexual orientation, workplace authority, supervisory authority, managerial occupations

JEL Classification: J15, J71, M54

Suggested Citation

Aksoy, Cevat Giray and Carpenter, Christopher S. and Frank, Jeff and Huffman, Matt, Gay Glass Ceilings: Sexual Orientation and Workplace Authority in the UK. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11574, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3193328

Cevat Giray Aksoy (Contact Author)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( email )

One Exchange Square
London EC2A 2JN
United Kingdom

King’s College London ( email )

Aldwych
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Christopher S. Carpenter

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business ( email )

Paul Merage School of Business
Irvine, CA California 92697-3125
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeff Frank

University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics ( email )

Royal Holloway College
Egham
Surrey, Surrey TW20 0EX
United Kingdom
+44 20 8265 4203 (Phone)

Matt Huffman

University of California, Irvine

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

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