Women 'more likely to hire gay and lesbian job applicants over heterosexual candidates'
Researchers also found the opposite was true when the recruiter was a man, with male bosses judging straight candidates as being more hireable.
Academics at the University of Sussex said the study is the first to highlight a positive bias for gay and lesbian jobseekers, but only when women were responsible for hiring.
Lead author Dr Ben Everly, of Sussex's School of Business, Management and Economics, said the findings suggested employers should consider carefully the make-up of selection panels.
Researchers also found male bosses judging straight candidates as being more hireable
These results show that bias against gay men and lesbians is much more nuanced than previous work suggests
Dr Ben Everly
He said: "These results show that bias against gay men and lesbians is much more nuanced than previous work suggests.
"Hiring decisions made by teams of both men and women could lead to less biased decisions."
Dr Everly said the findings of the study, which is published in the Journal of Business and Psychology, could influence when and how gay men and lesbians disclose their sexual orientation at work.
In two experiments, around 400 people were randomly shown one of four CVs
In two experiments, around 400 people were randomly shown one of four CVs – of a lesbian, a gay male, a straight female or a straight male.
The fictional job applicants were named either Greg Johnson or Jennifer Lewis, and listed as belonging to either the Los Angeles Gay Business Professionals group for the gay applicants or Los Angeles Business Professionals for straight job-seekers.
All other details, including professional experience, were the same.
After seeing the CVs, participants were told to indicate which candidate should be hired using a scale of 1 for strongly disagree to 7 for strongly agree.
Female recruiters scored gay candidates an average of 5.21 and straight candidates 4.8, while men scored gay candidates 4.6 and straight candidates 4.93, according to the study carried out with Anderson School of Management at the University of California.
Dr Everly says: "Because women experience discrimination and the glass ceiling in organisations, women may believe that gay and lesbian applicants must be more competent than equally-qualified heterosexual applicants in order to advance their careers."