Transgender people are more likely to be unemployed and to receive lower wages compared to non-transgender people, according to a study by Trinity Business School and Technological University Dublin.
The research team used a sample from the ‘Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’ of 440,000 individuals in the US to look at how employment gaps and wage gaps could be explained.
On average, transgender persons are 11.7% less likely to be employed than equivalent non-transgender individuals. The researchers estimate that as much as 64% of that employment gap is down to discrimination.
When in employment, they found, transgender people are 11% less likely to work for higher wages. Discrimination accounts for 43% of the gap in pay, they believe.
Dr Klavs Ciprikis, assistant lecturer in finance at Technological University Dublin, said: “Many transgender persons not only experience mistreatment, harassment and abuse in their day-to-day lives but they may also experience negative labour market outcomes when compared to equivalent non-transgender persons.
“Our research also finds that structural discrimination in healthcare, education and occupational opportunities, as well as individual work preferences may also contribute to the employment and wage gap, but this information is not readily available.”
He added that research into transgender labour market outcomes often suffers from a lack of appropriate data, despite the fact “it may be useful for appropriate public policy to reduce discrimination, improve individual life satisfaction and socioeconomic outcomes”.
Dr Ciprikis said that transgender people experienced negative labour market outcomes because employment legislation lacks specific protections for them.
He added: “As structural discrimination is a major contributor to the lower labour market outcomes of transgender people it can be mitigated by passing laws that provide transgender people with equal protection in employment, housing, and education.
“Since transgender persons do not have to disclose their gender identity to employers, government officials or policy makers can work closely with employers to highlight some of the issues transgender persons may experience in the workplace and promote a work environment that is welcoming, inclusive and supportive.”
“Although public’s awareness, understanding and acceptance of transgender people has increased over the years, stigma surrounding transgender people still remains. Transgender persons consistently report harassment, abuse and discrimination in the labour market due to their gender identity.”
An example of such a case was a claim lodged in early 2020, where a transgender woman applied for a temporary sales assistant role at Debenhams but her application was rejected. Her discrimination claim that she was unsuccessful because of her gender identity was settled out of court.