Gay people face a 'pink plateau' similar to the glass ceiling that prevents women making it to the top levels of business, according to gay rights groups.
"There are very, very few gay people in senior positions," Ben Summerskill, chief executive of lobbying organisation Stonewall, told Personnel Today.
Lord Browne brought the issue to the fore when he resigned as chief executive of oil giant BP last week after lying in court documents about where he met a former male lover. Browne had tried to keep his sexuality secret throughout his high-flying career.
Summerskill said those aged 50 or over were more likely to be prejudiced against gay people, and that more people of this age group were in senior positions.