A study published last year in the academic journal Administrative Science Quarterly argues that there may be some truth to the so-called “gay jobs stereotype.” Gay men are disproportionately represented in stereotypical jobs like flight attendants or hairdressers. The same is true for lesbians in auto mechanic and home appliance repair positions. Generally, gay men and lesbians are overrepresented in law, academia, psychology, and human resources.
The study authors, András Tilcsik of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Michel Anteby of Boston University, and Carly Knight of Harvard University, hypothesize that, generally, “gay and lesbian workers will tend to concentrate in occupations that provide a high degree of task independence or require a high level of social independence, or both.” Such occupational segregation can potentially lead to inequality between workers, as well as impact employer efforts to recruit the best talent.
The authors’ hypotheses are based on the arguments that the ability to work without substantially dealing with coworkers (task independence) makes it easier to stay closeted, and the spectre of discrimination that gay men and lesbians face from an earlier age, make them better at reading other people (social perceptiveness).