LGBTQ+ young adults earn less than straight peers – data shows

Straight or gay, it may show in your pay, new research suggests.

Imy Brighty-Potts
Wednesday 12 April 2023 14:55 BST

Being LGBTQ+ worsens the salary gap among young adults, new research from Just Like Us, a charity supporting LGBTQ+ young people, has found.

According to the report, 24% of LGBTQ+ young adults make less than £19,999 per year, compared to 16% of non-LGBTQ+ young adults.

When gender is considered the stats become starker.

A third of LGBTQ+ women earned less than £19,999, compared to 25% of non-binary people and 17% of LGBTQ+ men, said Just Like Us.

Of all members of the LGBTQ+ community, asexual people and lesbians were the most likely to earn £19,999 or less, in data gathered from a survey of 3,695 young people aged 18 to 25.

According to 2022 ONS data, the median annual pay for full time employees was £33,000 in the UK.

Salaries varied greatly among LGBTQ+ identities, but overall LGBT+ young adults made consistently less than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts.

Workplace disparities extended beyond pay in this study.

A quarter of LGBTQ+ young adults said they went back into the closet when they started work and of those surveyed, 14% said they rarely or never felt able to be themselves at work, and 19% said they had experienced workplace bullying.

Amy Ashenden, interim CEO of Just Like Us, told PA Media: “The research suggests not only a potential salary gap for gender, but also for sexual orientation as young as the 18-25 age bracket, meaning many LGBTQ+ young adults are hit extra hard.

“Huge differences like this so early on in their careers will no doubt have a long-lasting impact on their future abilities to thrive at work. Lesbians, for example, face both homophobia and sexism and are among the worst hit by lower salaries, in our research.

“There are serious, disproportionate challenges faced by LGBTQ+ young adults in the workplace.

“A work environment where LGBTQ+ employees know they are welcomed and valued is vital to their wellbeing and to making sure they have equal access to career success.”

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