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Sexual Orientation and Employment Patterns in Young Adulthood

Sat, August 11, 8:30 to 10:10am, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Floor: Level 5, Salon H


Past research has shown that sexual minority women are more likely to participate in the labor force and work more hours than heterosexual women, while sexual minority men are less likely to participate in the labor force and work fewer hours than heterosexual men. Little is known, however, about sexual orientation differences in other aspects of employment such as job stability and work schedule. Further, most of past studies defined sexual orientation by the gender of residing partners and therefore excluded people who do not have a partner from analysis. The present study seeks to overcome these limitations by analyzing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, Wave 4 (n=14,707). The analysis showed that compared to married heterosexual women, partnered sexual minority women had a lower chance of labor force participation, longer work hours, a greater number of jobs in their work histories, and a higher chance of taking a non-standard shift. These women showed very small differences from cohabitating heterosexual women, however. Partnered men showed only small sexual orientation differences. Among people without partners, sexual minority women and men reported more jobs in their work histories than their heterosexual counterparts.