The study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), which was released on Thursday in Berlin, shows that gay men earn on average €2.14 per hour less than heterosexual men, who earn on average €18.
When factors such as age, education and the industry the individual is active in are taken into account, the gap increases, with gay men earning €2.64 less.The data also showed that lesbian women earn €2 more per hour than heterosexual women. With an average hourly wage of €16.44, lesbian women earn roughly the same as gay men.The study is based on an annual representative survey which asks respondents about their income, education, profession, health and sexual orientation. The answers of 460 lesbians and gay men were compared to the answers of 39,000 heterosexual men and women.
Study author Martin Kroh cautioned that the results did not provide proof that discrimination in the work place was the cause of the pay gap between gay and straight men.
“This is only an initial study. There are probably a whole set of explanations for the pay gap,” he said.
One possible cause of the difference could be the fact that gay men often do more overtime at work than straight men, a factor which pushes their hourly wage down.
According to the researchers openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people have several features which distinguish them from heterosexuals. They tend to be better educated, they live alone more often, and they rely on friends as confidants rather than family members.
The Gay and Lesbian Association in Germany said the report showed that more statistical research needed to be done on life as a gay person in Germany.
“In order to deal with discrimination it must first become visible,” said spokeswoman Jenny Renner.