Discrimination means that gay men are substantially less likely to reach upper management positions at work than their straight counterparts, according to new research.

The UK study of almost 650,000 men is the first large-scale examination of the workplace sexual orientation gap, Gay Star News has reported.

The study revealed that gay men do better in lower-level management roles, but when it comes to senior positions, it found “clear evidence that gay men face glass ceilings”.

“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,” said the researchers.

The study’s authors attributed the difference to discrimination, and found the gap was even bigger for racial minorities.

For lesbians at work, there was a similar lack of representation in senior management jobs, but the effect was “notably weaker”.

“We find evidence that women and non-white men are disadvantaged in attaining high-level managerial posts,” said the study’s authors.

“They too face glass ceilings.”

They recommended actions to address the career gap between straight and gay workers.

“Bringing more sexual minorities, women and non-whites into managerial posts potentially increases the access for those further down the managerial and supervisory ladder—with similar characteristics—to be promoted,” they said.

“As with representation of women and minority groups on corporate boards, there is the potential to shift to a more representative outcome more broadly within the organisation.”

LGBTI people can still face many kinds of discrimination and mistreatment at work, from subtle to overt.

Past research has suggested that almost 40 per cent of LGBTI Australians are not out in their workplace.

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