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Gender, sexual orientation, and occupational interests: Evidence of their interrelatedness

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  • formerly at University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia & Minot State Univ., North Dakota

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This report documents gender and sexual orientation differences in occupational interests for a large sample of North American college students. The students rated their interests in 26 different occupations. Seventeen of the occupations were of greater interest to males and the remaining nine appealed more to females. Regarding sexual orientation, male homosexuals expressed significantly more interest in all nine female-preferred occupations than did heterosexual males; and, in most cases, bisexual males expressed preferences that were intermediate in this regard. For females, sexual orientation was related to interests in eight occupations. Six of these were in the direction of female homosexuals (or bisexuals) preferring more male-typical occupations. The remaining two occupations – those of accountant and head of a corporation – were actually of greater interest to heterosexual females than to homosexual (or bisexual) females. We conclude that (a) pronounced gender differences exist in people’s interests in many occupations, and (b) there are substantial tendencies for homosexuals (and bisexuals to a lesser degree) to have occupational interests that gravitate toward what is typical of the opposite gender rather than their own gender. These “contra-sex” occupational interests among non-heterosexuals were considerably more pronounced in males than in females.
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Gender, sexual orientation, and occupational interests: Evidence
of their interrelatedness
Lee Ellis
a,
, Malini Ratnasingam
a
, Mary Wheeler
b
a
University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
b
Minot State University, Minot, North Dakota, United States
article info
Article history:
Received 31 October 2011
Received in revised form 30 December 2011
Accepted 8 February 2012
Available online 22 March 2012
Keywords:
Gender
Sexual orientation
Occupational interests
abstract
This report documents gender and sexual orientation differences in occupational interests for a large
sample of North American college students. The students rated their interests in 26 different occupations.
Seventeen of the occupations were of greater interest to males and the remaining nine appealed more to
females. Regarding sexual orientation, male homosexuals expressed significantly more interest in all nine
female-preferred occupations than did heterosexual males; and, in most cases, bisexual males expressed
preferences that were intermediate in this regard. For females, sexual orientation was related to interests
in eight occupations. Six of these were in the direction of female homosexuals (or bisexuals) preferring
more male-typical occupations. The remaining two occupations – those of accountant and head of a
corporation – were actually of greater interest to heterosexual females than to homosexual (or bisexual)
females. We conclude that (a) pronounced gender differences exist in people’s interests in many occupa-
tions, and (b) there are substantial tendencies for homosexuals (and bisexuals to a lesser degree) to have
occupational interests that gravitate toward what is typical of the opposite gender rather than their own
gender. These ‘‘contra-sex’’ occupational interests among non-heterosexuals were considerably more
pronounced in males than in females.
Ó2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
For over a century, studies have revealed that males and females
both prefer and choose substantially different types of occupations
(Anker, 1998; Charles, 1992; Durkheim, 1893/1984; Ellis & Awang,
2011; England, 1981; Rose, 1986). Far fewer studies have examined
how sexual orientation is related to occupational preferences and
choices. The following literature review provides a foundation upon
which we seek to clarify how male and female heterosexuals and
non-heterosexuals differ in their occupational interests.
1.1. Sex differences in occupational interests and choices
A recent review documented many cross-cultural gender differ-
ences in occupational preferences and choices (Ellis et al., 2008).
For example, males are more inclined to choose work in competi-
tive business fields, in engineering, and in the physical science,
while female choices are more often in fields such as teaching
(especially of young children), health care (especially nursing),
and other so-called ‘‘helping occupations’’ (Block, Denker, & Tittle,
1981; Whitam & Dizon, 1979). Similarly, a detailed study by Aros,
Henly, and Curtis (1998) demonstrated that males are drawn to
work that is competitive and/or involves manipulating physical
things, while females are more likely to have artistic and socially
active occupational interests.
One review by Croson and Gneezy (2009) led them to conclude
that ‘‘women prefer jobs that are less risky, more socially virtuous
and less competitive’’ (p. 449). Several researchers have concluded
that another major gender difference in occupational interests has
involved males choosing ‘‘things’’ oriented lines of work and fe-
males gravitating toward ‘‘people’’ focused jobs (Geary, 2010;
Lippa, 1998; Lippa, 2010; Su, Rounds, & Armstrong, 2009).
Sex differences in occupational preferences are evident at a
young age. A meta-analysis of research published between 1970
and 1991 revealed that even in primary school, boys expressed
more interest in science-related occupations while girls preferred
arts-related and helping careers (Weinburgh, 1995). In a recent
study, Lupart, Cannon, and Telfer (2004) found that boys in grades
7 through 10 rated careers in information technology, science, and
engineering more favorably, while girls rated artistic careers and
‘‘making the world a better place’’ as more important for the
careers they would most likely choose. Based on a widely used
measure of occupational interests (Holland, Fritzsche, & Powell,
1994), Osborn and Reardon (2006) reported that females scored
higher on the ‘‘social and artistic’’ scale while males scored higher
on the ‘‘realistic and investigative’’ scale.
0191-8869/$ - see front matter Ó2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.02.008
Corresponding author. Tel.: +60 010 272 4291.
E-mail address: lee.ellis@hotmail.com (L. Ellis).
Personality and Individual Differences 53 (2012) 64–69
Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect
Personality and Individual Differences
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/paid
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As a qualification to the above findings, several studies have
shown that as the proportion of women entering the workforce in-
creases – as has been true in recent years in most countries – occu-
pational gender segregation has moderated slightly (Cohen, 2004;
Cotter, DeFiore, Hermsen, Kowalewski, & Vanneman, 1995; Jacob-
sen, 1994). Furthermore, gender differences in occupational inter-
ests have also diminished somewhat since the 1950s, at least
among college students in the United States (Fiorentine, 1988).
1.2. Sexual orientation and occupational interests and choices
Even though stereotypes abound, the number of studies of how
sexual orientation is related to occupational preferences and
choices is meager compared to the vast array of studies of sex
differences in occupational preferences and choices. To illustrate
the stereotypes, Whitam and Dizon (1979) noted that the propor-
tion of male hair dressers who are gay is reputed to be unusually
high. The same has been implied for the men who are designers
of clothing fashions (Esgate & Flynn, 2005). Regarding the field of
acting, the late Elizabeth Taylor reportedly stated that ‘‘there
would be no Hollywood without homosexuals ... Everybody
knows that’’ (cited in Valdes, 1995).
One of the first empirical explorations of a link between sexual
orientation and occupational interests was reported by Chung and
Harmon Lenore (1994). Using Holland (1985) occupational interest
inventory, these researchers concluded that gay men’s interests
were ‘‘less Realistic and Investigative’’ and ‘‘were more Artistic
and Social’’ than those of straight men (p. 223). Another one of
the earliest studies was conducted by Bailey and Oberschneider
(1997). They interviewed 136 professional dancers and asked them
to estimate the percentage of male dancers who they thought were
gay. The average estimate was 58%. These ‘‘informants’’ also esti-
mated the proportion of female professional dancers who were les-
bian to be less than 3%. While useful, this article provided only
indirect evidence and was limited to just one occupation.
So far, the most detailed studies of sexual orientation and occu-
pational interests were conducted by Lippa (2002), Lippa (2008).
The first of his studies involved a sample of United States male
and female college students in which they were provided with a
list of 50 different occupations. As one would expect, numerous
gender differences in occupational interests were revealed, some
of which were quite striking. For example, few males expressed
much of an interest in being an interior decorator, a beauty consul-
tant or a florist, but many found such occupations as electrical
engineer, building contractor, and jet pilot appealing. Females, on
the other hand, exhibited the opposite types of interests.
Regarding sexual orientation, Lippa also found numerous differ-
ences. In nearly all cases, male homosexuals exhibited interests
that gravitated substantially toward those of females, and, to a les-
ser degree, female homosexuals, preferred somewhat more male-
typical occupations.
Lippa (2008) more recent study was based on an impressively
large internet sample of over 200,000 responses drawn from many
countries (sponsored by the British Broadcast Corporation). Find-
ings again showed that the occupational interests of male homosex-
uals were usually skewed toward the interests expressed by females
rather than by males. Sufficient numbers of subjects were included
in this BBC sponsored study to separately analyze responses by
bisexuals as well as homosexuals. Generally, for both males and fe-
males, bisexuals expressed interests that were intermediate to
those of heterosexuals and homosexuals of their own gender.
1.3. Purpose of the present study
Overall, both gender and sexual orientation appear to be impor-
tant variables influencing occupational interests. The present study
was undertaken to verify and extend these observations, particu-
larly regarding sexual orientation. Based on past findings, we
expected to confirm substantial gender differences in occupational
interests, such as males preferring occupations oriented toward
things and power over others while females gravitate toward artis-
tic and help-related occupations. Regarding sexual orientation, our
expectations were to confirm Lippa (2002), Lippa (2008) findings
that homosexuals (and bisexuals to a lesser degree) of both
genders will have interests strongly leaning toward those of the
opposite gender rather than their own gender.
2. Methods
2.1. The participants
Research participants consisted of students attending 20 United
States and two Canadian colleges and universities enrolled in var-
ious social and behavioral sciences courses (a list of the colleges is
available upon request). They included 3005 males and 6171
females and ranged in age from 18 to 56, with a mean of 22.
Racially/ethnically, the participants were 85% white, 4% black, 2%
Native American, 2% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Hispanic, and 6%
providing no answer.
2.2. The variables
Participants identified their gender as male or female. To assess
their sexual orientation, students were asked: How would you de-
scribe your sexual orientation (please circle one)? Heterosexual, bisex-
ual, homosexual, or uncertain. Individuals expressing uncertainty in
this regard were excluded from the analyzes.
While there are obviously thousands of occupations that exist
in contemporary industrial societies, only 26 were listed in the
present study so as not to burden respondents with a lengthier list.
The occupations were chosen as ones that respondents would
readily understand. Secondarily, they were selective as represent-
ing a wide diversity of occupations that would appeal to either
males or females.
Preferences for these 26 occupations were measured by asking
participants to rate their interests in each one (as presented in the
tables soon to be described). Instructions to participants read as
follows: Disregarding any specific talents you may or may not have,
and any financial considerations, how appealing would each of the fol-
lowing lines of work be to you? (Use 0 =as unappealing as you can
imagine; 100 =as appealing as you can imagine).
2.3. Statistical analysis
The significance of gender differences in occupational interests
was assessed using t-tests. Analysis of variance was employed to
determine statistical significance in the case of sexual orientation.
3. Results
Numerous associations were found between occupational inter-
ests, sex, and sexual orientation. These associations are described
below.
3.1. Male–female comparisons
Table 1 provides a summary of gender differences in occupa-
tional preferences. Gender differences in occupational preferences
were found for all 26 occupations, with 17 being preferred more by
men and the remaining 9 being preferred more by women. The
means in Table 1 are bolded to indicate which gender expressed
L. Ellis et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 53 (2012) 64–69 65
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the greatest interest in each of the 26 occupations. Also noted are
the effect sizes of each mean sex difference.
It is interesting to note that 4 of the effect sizes were greater
than .30 for male-preferred occupations and 3 were greater than
.30 for female-preferred occupations (in fact, for these latter occu-
pations, the effect sizes were much greater than .30). For male-pre-
ferred occupations with the greatest effect sizes (in descending
order) were: athlete (.372), electrician (.342), auto mechanic
(.339), and test pilot (.315). The three female-preferred occupa-
tions with effect sizes surpassing .30 were: dress designer (.524),
beautician (.418), and day care provider (.401). This indicates that
the greatest overall sex differences in occupational preferences in-
volve a particularly strong disinterest in being dress designers,
beauticians, and day care providers by most males. (As will be
shown below, these 3 occupations are particularly notable as being
associated with male homosexuality.)
3.2. Male comparisons according to sexual orientation
Occupational interests according to sexual orientation are pre-
sented for males in Table 2. It shows 12 differences between heter-
osexual, bisexual, and homosexual males that were significant at or
beyond the .05 levels. Heterosexuals were higher than homosexu-
als in the case of 6 occupations: athlete, auto mechanic, electrician,
high school coach, and police officer. And, for 6 occupations, homo-
sexual males were significantly higher than heterosexual males:
actor/actress, artist, beautician, dress designer, nurse, and novelist.
In the case of all 12 occupations, the direction of the differences in-
volved the homosexual males being more like females in their
preferences.
3.3. Female comparisons according to sexual orientation
Regarding the relationship between occupational interests and
sexual orientation for females, refer to Table 3. This table shows
significant associations in the case of 8 occupations: Heterosexual
females expressed stronger preferences than homosexuals for
being accountants, beauticians, and heads of corporations. Homo-
sexual females, on the other hand, express stronger desires to be
auto mechanics, high school coaches, novelists, and wild life pho-
tographer. In the case of being scientists, bisexual females ex-
pressed stronger interests than did either heterosexuals or
homosexuals, although bisexuals were much more similar to
homosexuals (38.71 versus 36.81) than to heterosexuals (27.96).
Six of the 8 significant differences among females were in the
direction of homosexuals (or, in one case, bisexuals) having more
male-typical interests than heterosexuals. The 2 exceptions in-
volved heterosexual females being more male-like regarding their
interests in being accountants and heads of corporations.
3.4. Gender, sexual orientation, and occupational interests considered
together
The average ratings given for all 18 male-preferred occupations
(according to Table 1) are presented in Fig. 1. As one can see, male
heterosexuals exhibit the highest interest in these lines of work,
followed by male bisexuals. The next highest interest was ex-
pressed by female homosexuals, followed closely by male homo-
sexuals. Female heterosexuals and bisexuals essentially tied in
their having the lowest interest in male-preferred jobs.
Figure 2 presents comparable information regarding interest in
female-preferred occupations. To be expected, the highest average
interest was expressed by female heterosexuals. However, the
interests of female bisexuals and homosexuals were almost equal
to that of heterosexual females. Among males, on the other hand,
dramatic differences are apparent. Most notably, male heterosexu-
als had the lowest interests by far and the interests of male homo-
sexuals were as high as those of females.
4. Discussion
As numerous prior studies have shown (reviewed by Ellis et al.,
2008), the present research clearly documents substantial average
gender differences in occupational interests. As noted by Geary
Table 1
Occupational preferences according to gender. (The higher of the two means for each occupation is bolded.)
Occupations Male Female Effect size tp
Mean SD N Mean SD N
Accountant 23.48 28.49 3005 24.98 30.50 6171 .025 2.33 .020
Actor/actress 44.64 34.56 3005 47.81 34.83 6169 .045 4.12 .000
Archaeologist 34.45 32.04 2983 30.05 32.63 6153 .067 6.13 .000
Architect 39.70 30.72 3000 32.17 30.76 6150 .121 10.99 .000
Artist 32.82 33.21 2966 39.52 34.96 6132 .097 8.87 .000
Athlete 66.42 34.22 2994 38.47 35.40 6115 .372 36.21 .000
Auto mechanic 27.33 28.17 2981 9.96 19.09 6117 .339 30.44 .000
Beautician 6.33 14.61 2967 27.49 29.03 6129 .418 46.22 .000
Comedian 44.63 34.45 2969 30.08 32.11 6089 .213 19.29 .000
Day care provider 16.66 24.11 2934 42.61 34.22 6092 .401 41.49 .000
Dress designer 8.64 18.60 2977 41.76 33.20 6150 .524 60.94 .000
Electrician 24.34 27.44 2974 7.86 16.37 6130 .342 30.24 .000
Head of corporation 63.29 32.94 2980 55.87 35.48 6143 .107 9.83 .000
High school coach 42.30 35.41 2958 26.00 31.97 6073 .234 21.18 .000
Historian 23.38 29.41 2948 16.43 26.11 6070 .124 10.92 .000
Mathematician 19.56 27.54 2974 16.25 26.30 6128 .061 5.45 .000
Minister 12.85 22.87 2988 9.40 19.94 6142 .080 7.06 .000
Musician 40.57 36.95 2943 37.65 35.73 6096 .040 3.56 .000
Nurse 18.17 27.19 2866 37.74 35.15 5988 .297 28.73 .000
Novelist 26.34 32.85 2932 33.52 35.56 6049 .104 9.46 .000
Physician 41.93 35.24 2995 43.95 36.81 6155 .028 2.54 .011
Police officer 42.18 34.49 2983 25.84 30.53 6109 .243 22.01 .000
Politician 27.14 32.18 2969 17.02 28.06 6123 .165 14.65 .000
Scientist 39.00 34.15 2989 27.88 33.40 6143 .162 14.71 .000
Test pilot 40.80 36.50 2992 19.01 28.64 6132 .315 28.63 .000
Wild life photographer 47.05 34.40 3001 45.29 35.46 6157 .025 2.27 .023
66 L. Ellis et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 53 (2012) 64–69
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(2010), Lippa (1998) and Su et al. (2009), these gender differences
involve males preferring ‘‘things’’ oriented jobs (e.g., architect,
electrician, scientist) and females preferring work that deals with
‘‘people’’ (e.g., beautician, day care provider, nurse). However,
there are definite exceptions to this people versus things pattern.
For example, males in our sample expressed greater preferences
for being comedians, ministers, and politicians, all of which would
seem to be people-orientated lines of work. Other factors that have
been found to attract males to particular lines of work are those of
social prominence, power over others, and high monetary rewards
(Kirkcaldy, Furnham, & Lynn, 1992). Besides being helpful to oth-
ers, female-preferred occupations are more likely to have artistic
expressive elements (Kirkcaldy, 1988; Su et al., 2009).
In the case of sexual orientation, some interesting relationships
emerged. For example, as summarily shown in Fig. 1, male homo-
sexuals have a strong tendency to resemble females in occupa-
tional interests. As shown in Fig. 2, these patterns are
considerably weaker in the case of female homosexuals.
Table 2
Male occupational preferences according to sexual orientation. (Significant differences are in italics, with the highest means bolded.)
Occupations Heterosexual Bisexual Homosexual F p
Mean SEM N Mean SEM N Mean SEM N
Accountant 22.03 .58 2294 20.45 4.92 33 17.93 4.09 29 0.36 .700
Actor/actress 43.92 .72 2293 48.03 5.87 33 70.47 6.42 30 8.89 .000
Archaeologist 34.56 .68 2274 34.85 5.65 33 43.97 6.72 29 1.22 .296
Architect 39.30 .64 2289 45.42 6.29 33 40.86 5.86 29 0.67 .510
Artist 31.68 .69 2264 39.21 6.93 33 64.85 5.93 27 13.95 .000
Athlete 67.92 .70 2285 48.70 6.82 33 35.41 6.68 29 18.36 .000
Auto mechanic 27.03 .59 2274 29.55 5.55 33 7.14 3.47 29 7.32 .001
Beautician 5.34 .29 2260 10.18 4.25 33 18.62 4.98 29 14.69 .000
Comedian 45.02 .73 2267 32.19 5.62 32 47.45 6.56 29 2.26 .105
Day care provider 16.54 .51 2234 21.12 5.15 33 21.41 4.72 29 1.14 .321
Dress designer 7.59 .36 2266 16.73 4.97 33 25.00 5.79 29 17.85 .000
Electrician 23.67 .58 2265 27.12 5.16 33 6.97 2.23 29 5.67 .003
Head of corporation 63.34 .69 2272 61.67 5.61 33 57.59 6.63 29 0.48 .622
High school coach 43.39 .75 2253 37.64 5.99 33 14.46 4.62 28 9.49 .000
Historian 23.57 .63 2245 20.76 4.39 33 16.72 4.52 29 0.89 .408
Mathematician 18.32 .57 2269 19.52 4.76 33 16.31 5.21 29 0.11 .893
Minister 12.79 .48 2277 10.82 4.13 33 12.93 4.78 29 0.12 .888
Musician 39.87 .78 2243 42.61 6.73 33 49.79 7.07 29 1.11 .330
Nurse 18.13 .59 2190 27.87 6.65 31 30.79 6.14 29 4.85 .008
Novelist 26.00 .69 2236 34.34 6.95 32 41.38 6.71 29 4.09 .017
Physician 42.45 .74 2285 41.85 5.96 33 45.67 6.29 30 0.13 .880
Police officer 43.04 .73 2277 37.76 6.47 33 18.86 5.06 29 7.26 .001
Politician 27.04 .68 2262 26.06 5.72 33 19.83 4.61 28 0.71 .494
Scientist 39.45 .72 2282 42.79 5.69 33 33.14 5.32 29 0.65 .523
Test pilot 41.80 .77 2282 36.24 6.60 33 28.34 6.16 29 2.29 .101
Wild life photo 46.79 .73 2290 51.61 6.20 33 48.33 6.99 30 0.34 .712
Table 3
Female occupational preferences according to sexual orientation. (Significant differences are in italics, with the highest means bolded.)
Occupations Heterosexual Bisexual Homosexual F p
Mean SEM N Mean SEM N Mean SEM N
Accountant 24.11 .44 4633 9.84 3.13 31 17.37 4.39 43 4.50 .011
Actor/actress 47.51 .51 4632 45.68 6.78 31 41.72 5.44 43 0.62 .537
Archaeologist 29.82 .48 4617 35.32 6.14 31 36.77 5.38 43 1.39 .250
Architect 32.11 .46 4618 31.97 5.76 30 38.02 4.63 42 0.76 .468
Artist 38.61 .51 4602 52.06 7.22 31 42.21 5.57 43 2.49 .082
Athlete 38.66 .52 4587 29.19 5.94 31 53.07 6.01 43 4.63 .010
Auto mechanic 9.11 .27 4589 7.26 2.87 31 19.19 4.69 43 6.39 .002
Beautician 27.38 .43 4602 17.87 3.63 31 14.37 3.57 43 5.83 .003
Comedian 29.61 .48 4573 33.29 6.42 31 36.19 5.24 42 1.07 .345
Day care provider 42.60 .51 4567 38.28 6.06 32 45.00 5.36 43 0.36 .698
Dress designer 41.38 .49 4619 42.50 6.18 30 30.77 5.34 43 2.19 .112
Electrician 7.32 .24 4600 9.20 2.95 30 8.72 2.44 43 0.36 .695
Head of corporation 56.06 .52 4612 45.65 5.99 31 38.30 5.23 43 6.06 .001
High school coach 26.50 .48 4559 21.07 6.49 28 39.71 6.07 42 3.89 .020
Historian 16.13 .39 4551 17.93 4.72 29 24.84 4.85 43 2.42 .089
Mathematician 15.69 .39 4600 14.35 4.49 31 10.51 3.29 43 0.88 .414
Minister 9.44 .30 4612 6.52 2.59 31 11.40 3.47 43 0.52 .596
Musician 37.09 .53 4579 34.67 6.81 30 41.59 5.19 43 0.40 .670
Nurse 37.94 .53 4497 37.23 6.32 30 39.41 5.83 41 0.04 .959
Novelist 33.03 .53 4537 39.88 6.70 32 45.50 5.82 42 3.09 .045
Physician 45.16 .55 4624 46.45 6.84 31 47.56 6.01 43 0.11 .899
Police officer 26.11 .46 4584 26.06 6.18 31 34.02 4.93 43 1.39 .249
Politician 16.93 .42 4603 10.06 3.73 31 13.14 3.32 43 1.29 .276
Scientist 27.96 .49 4608 38.71 6.60 31 36.81 5.03 43 3.02 .049
Test pilot 18.75 .42 4606 18.77 5.39 31 23.53 4.54 43 0.59 .553
Wild life photo 45.09 .52 4627 52.74 6.14 31 57.53 5.04 43 3.31 .036
L. Ellis et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 53 (2012) 64–69 67
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4.1. Qualifications and limitations
In qualifying the present findings, it is important to emphasize
that many factors besides gender and sexual orientation influence
occupational interests. These factors include intellectual and per-
sonality traits (Ackerman & Heggestad, 1997; Barrick, Mount, &
Gupta, 2003) as well as family and cultural influences (Low, Yoon,
Roberts, & Rounds, 2005; Tang, Fouad, & Smith, 1999). For this
reason, nothing herein reported should be construed as supporting
simple stereotypes of how men and women, whether straight or
gay, develop particular occupational interests. Instead, these inter-
ests are complex and varied and their causes are numerous. None-
theless, this study reinforces the conclusion that in addition to
gender, sexual orientation is one of the significant contributors to
variations in occupational interests.
The present article suffers from the unavoidable limitation of any
study of sexual orientation based on general population samples:
relatively small numbers of non-heterosexuals. More specifically,
probably for evolutionary/reproductive reasons, heterosexuals are
much more prevalent than non-heterosexuals in all general popula-
tions one studies (e.g., Bagley & Tremblay, 1998; Ellis, Robb, & Burke,
2005; Savin-Williams & Ream, 2007; Sell, Wells, & Wypij, 1995).
Therefore, even with several thousand participants (as in the
present study), the number of each gender who are non-heterosex-
uals will still achieve a much lower level of statistical power relative
to heterosexuals.
Another limitation of the present study involves the fact that we
only asked about 26 occupational type interests. This is quite small
in comparison to the number of occupations available in the mod-
ern world.
The present study also restricted its analysis to just one
measure of sexual orientation, that of self-categorization. Findings
based on two other measures – those of self-reported sexual fanta-
sies and actual sexual experiences – were reported using the data
set relied on in the present study (Ellis et al., 2005). Some addi-
tional analyzes based on these measures were conducted, but
doing so did not bring us to conclusions substantively different
from those using the self-categorization measure.
Overall, this study provides mounting support for concluding
that for both sexes, sexual orientation is substantially associated
with occupational interests (Lippa, 2002; Lippa, 2008). In general,
non-heterosexuals exhibit interests that tend to be contrary to
those of their own sex and more in line with the opposite sex, espe-
cially in the case of males. Given the consistency of these findings,
research is needed to unearth the causes of such sex by sexual ori-
entation patterns. In this regard, the evolutionary neuroandrogenic
theory may provide helpful guidance (Ellis, 2011).
Acknowledgment
We thank Emi Prihatin for assisting in the graph design.
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... In contrast, females usually prefer empathizing, people-orientated occupations which involve managing, thinking about, and frequently interacting with people (e.g., counselors, elementary schoolteachers, nurses) (Archer, 2019;Konrad et al., 2000;Nettle, 2007). Cross-cultural research demonstrates that, on average, gay men from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Guatemala, New Zealand, the Philippines, UK, US, and Western Europe (Ellis et al., 2012;Lippa, 2002Lippa, , 2005aLippa, , 2008Lippa, , 2020Whitam & Mathy, 1986;Zheng et al., 2011), and transgender androphilic males from India, Samoa, and the Philippines (Hart, 1968;Semenyna & Vasey, 2016;Stief, 2017), display sex-atypical occupational preferences. ...
... Consistent with our second prediction, both cisgender and transgender muxes reported having more sex-atypical occupational preferences than gynephilic men. These findings are consistent with previous cross-cultural research (Ellis et al., 2012;Hart, 1968;Lippa, 2002Lippa, , 2005aLippa, , 2008Lippa, , 2020Semenyna & Vasey, 2016;Stief, 2017;Whitam & Mathy, 1986;Zheng et al., 2011) and suggest that sex-atypical occupational preferences are a cross-cultural universal correlate of male androphilia. Furthermore, this documentation of male sexual orientation differences in a growing number of disparate cultures also suggests that biological factors play some role in the average occupational interests of gynephilic and androphilic males. ...
... However, the manner by which these muxes types differed from the other groups was not completely consistent with our predictions. Unlike cisgender androphilic males from Euro-American cultures, whose occupational preferences are intermediate to those of men and women (Ellis et al., 2012;Lippa, 2002Lippa, , 2005aLippa, , 2008Lippa, , 2020Whitam & Mathy, 1986;Zheng et al., 2011), muxe nguiiu's overall occupational preferences did not differ from those of androphilic women. Furthermore, whereas Semenyna & Vasey (2016) found that Samoan fa'afafine had similar occupational preferences to androphilic women, muxe gunaa in the present study had a higher MF-Occ score than androphilic women. ...
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Research has found that both cisgender and transgender androphilic males (i.e., males sexually attracted to and aroused by other adult males) have female-typical occupational preferences when compared with gynephilic males (i.e., males sexually attracted to and aroused by adult females). Moreover, whereas cisgender androphilic males’ occupational preferences tend to be intermediate between those of gynephilic men and androphilic women, transgender androphilic males tend to have occupational preferences that are more similar to androphilic women. No study has directly compared both types of androphilic males within the same culture. The present study investigated occupational preference and its relation to childhood sex-atypical behavior (CSAB), among gynephilic men (n = 208), androphilic women (n = 138), and cisgender (n = 132) and transgender (n = 129) androphilic males from the Istmo region of Oaxaca, Mexico, where androphilic males are recognized as third gender, muxes. The study found large sex differences in occupational preferences (d = 2.80). Furthermore, both cisgender muxe nguiiu (d = 2.36) and transgender muxe gunaa (d = 3.44) reported having more sex-atypical occupational preferences compared with men. However, muxe gunaa reported higher female-typical occupational preferences than women (d = 0.59) and muxe nguiiu (d = 0.57), whereas muxe nguiiu and women did not differ (d = 0.08). These findings are consistent with the conclusion that sex-atypical occupational preferences are a cross-culturally universal aspect of male androphilia. Finally, CSAB was associated with sex-atypical occupational preferences among all participants. These findings suggest that a developmental continuity exists between childhood and adulthood sex-atypicality.
... The literature on gender-typed jobs has focused primarily on heterosexuals, however gay men have greater interest in genderatypical careers than heterosexual men (Ellis et al., 2012;Ueno et al., 2013). It is therefore important to examine how gay men are perceived as applicants for gender-typed jobs. ...
... It has become more common for both males and females to enter occupations that have been traditionally viewed as appropriate for the opposite gender (Whittock, 2002;Watts, 2009). Notwithstanding that gay men display greater preference for female-typed work than do heterosexual men (Ellis et al., 2012;Ueno et al., 2013), little research has accounted for sexual orientation within the context of gender-typed work, and those studies that have, appear to provide inconsistent results. A recent study demonstrated that gay applicants were less likely than heterosexual male applicants to be invited for interviews for male-typed job (Drydakis, 2015). ...
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Research demonstrates the bias faced by individuals engaged in occupations that are perceived as inconsistent with their gender. The lack of fit model and role congruity theory explain how gender stereotypes give rise to the perception that an individual lacks the attributes necessary to be successful in a gender-incongruent job. Men employed in jobs traditionally held by women are perceived as wimpy and undeserving of respect. The majority of studies in this area have, however, failed to account for the sexual orientation of the individual being rated. Therefore, we carried out an experiment where 128 adults with experience in recruitment and selection, recruited through Qualtrics, rated heterosexual and gay male applicants applying for a gender-typed job. The heterosexual male was rated less effectual, less respect-worthy, and less hirable in the female-typed job condition than in the male-typed job condition. The gay male applicant, however, was rated similarly on all criteria across job gender-types, suggesting the gay male applicant was viewed as androgynous rather than high in femininity and low in masculinity as inferred by implicit inversion theory. The implications of these findings are discussed.
... Sex differences 1 in preferences have frequently been described, both for personal preferences such as vocational interests and for more general attitudes and beliefs about the world and about human affairs, such as strength of religious belief and political preferences (e.g., Brooks & Valentino, 2011;Ellis et al., 2012;Shapiro & Mahajan, 1986;Su et al., 2009). These appear to be related to sex differences in personality traits (Del Giudice et al., 2012). ...
... This corresponds to the descriptive results (Table 1), which show more significant differences in the sociodemographic and health covariates between heterosexual men and women than sexual minority men and women. In addition to the smaller differences across gender in other measures of socioeconomic status and health indicators for LGB adults compared to heterosexual adults (Table 1), research shows that gay and lesbian adults tend to adhere less to gender norms, perhaps influencing their career trajectories (Ellis et al., 2012;Moore, 2006). In sum, the relationship between education and health by gender may differ slightly for heterosexual adults (also see Appendix B), but it appears to be mostly similar for gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults. ...
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Background Prior research has found that education's association with health can differ by social positions such as gender. Yet, none of the existing work has tested whether the relationship between education and self-rated health is equivalent across sexual orientation groups, and additionally, if these associations differ for men and women. Deploying the intersectionality perspective, we expand current debates of education as a resource substitution or multiplication to include sexual orientation. Methods We answer these questions using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a probability-based sample of adults living in 44 US states and territories for selected years between 2011 and 2017 (n = 1,219,382). Results Supporting resource multiplication, we find that compared to their same-gender heterosexual counterparts, education is less health-protective for bisexual adults, especially bisexual women. Gay men and lesbian women, on the other hand, seem to have similar associations of education with health as their same-gender heterosexual counterparts. Turning to gender comparisons across sexual identity groups, we find that resource substitution may operate only among heterosexual women when compared with heterosexual men. Conclusions In sum, this study suggests that the relationship between education and health may depend on the intersection of gender and sexual orientation among U.S. adults.
... Gay stereotype Carmichael, 1996 Make-up Artist White et al., 1989 Gay stereotype Ellis et al., 2012Nurse Aros et al., 1998Shinar, 1975;White et al., 1989 Gay stereotype Clow, Ricciardelli, & Bartfay, 2015Professional Dancer Shinar, 1975 Gay stereotype Bailey & Oberschneider, 1997Social Worker Aros et al, 1998Shinar, 1975;White et al., 1989 Female numerical domination U.S. Department of Labor, 2019 Speech Language Pathologist White et al., 1989 Female numerical domination U.S. Department of Labor, 2019 Travel Agent White et al., 1989 Gay numerical domination Tilcsik et al., 2015 Flight Attendant Aros et al., 1998;Shinar, 1975;White et al., 1989 Gay numerical domination Architect Aros et al., 1998;Shinar, 1975;White et al., 1989 Gay numerical domination Baulme et al., 2009 Chief of Police Shinar, 1975Lesbian stereotype Miller et al., 2003 Dean of a College/University Shinar, 1975 High prestige Goyder et al., 2003Dentist Aros et al., 1998Shinar, 1975;White et al., 1989 High prestige Glick et al., 1995Engineer Shinar, 1975White et al., 1989 High Professional Athlete Aros et al., 1998;Shinar, 1975 Male numerical domination U.S. Department of Labor, 2019 School Principal Aros et al., 1998;Shinar, 1975;White et al., 1989 Female numerical domination ...
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Analyses of objective data from census and nationally representative samples illustrate that numerical occupational segregation by sexual orientation has existed for decades. The purpose of this study was to evaluate subjective perceptions of these and other occupations to determine the statistical validity of sexual orientation occupational stereotypes. Drawing from social cognitive career theory (SCCT), we measured perceptions of gender, prestige, and sexual orientation for 60 occupations. Participants (N=396) with experience in hiring and recruitment were surveyed and, as expected, many occupations were gender stereotyped and differed in prestige ratings. Male-typed occupations were rated higher in prestige than female-typed occupations. Regarding sexual orientation stereotypes, some occupations were perceived as ‘gay jobs’, but no occupations were perceived as ‘lesbian jobs’. Gender of the participant was a significant predictor of two jobs that were sexual orientation stereotyped, make-up artist and fashion designer. Theoretical and practical contributions are discussed.
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