New Report Validates Significant Wage Gap for LGBTQ2S+ Community

Written on 08/16/2021
Contributing Columnist

 In a new report, researchers validate significant income gaps for lesbian, gay, and bisexual Canadians — CTV News reported.

The findings could make employers reconstruct their hiring traditions and start to address these findings.

The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) is a non-profit research group that used 14 years of evidence from national-population-based surveys. Compared to the heterosexual population, it found the LGBTQ2S+ people had "significantly lower median annual earnings compared with heterosexual men. In descriptive analyses, heterosexual men were found to earn the most ($55,959), followed by gay men ($50,822), lesbian women ($44,740), bisexual men ($31,776), and bisexual women ($25,290)."

Even when taking education and experience into consideration, the SRDC said the gaps were still significant.

"The finding that sexual minorities earn less isn't new, but the fact that it's now supported by some of the highest-quality income data available is striking," explained Basia Pakula in a statement — one of the team's researchers.

The study showed that industry, mental health, and hours worked played a significant role in the disparity, but the gaps undeniably point to discrimination toward members of the LGBTQ2S+ community.

"The suggestion that discrimination works in combination with mental health to foster earnings disadvantages for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people is crucial when thinking of potential policy solutions."

The SRDC found that the wage gap was most prevalent for bisexual people. "Across all areas we explored, outcomes for bisexual-identified people were consistently the poorest. This tells us that we need to avoid treating the LGBTQ2S+ community like a single entity. We need to learn more about how biphobia and bi-specific discriminatory experiences play out in people's day-to-day lives, including in the labour market."

In its 2021 census, Statistics Canada made a conscious effort to start collecting information from transgender, two-spirit and non-binary people. The data is not yet available to researchers, so they can't take the information into account.

"Without relevant data, employers have a tough time setting targets, even if they have a strong commitment to inclusion," Colin Druhan, executive director at Pride at Work Canada, said in a statement.

"What we are learning from this research is going to help a lot of employers better understand how to make a measurable impact on the challenges we're seeing instead of relying on assumptions and stereotypes, which only exacerbate the situation for queer and trans workers and jobseekers," Druhan added.

(Image Credit:  Carlos de Toro )