A new study has found that job seekers perceived to have a “gay sounding” voice were less likely to be hired for top jobs.
A University of Surrey research team played recordings and showed photographs of gay and heterosexual men and women to 40 heterosexual men.
The study participants were then asked how much they would pay the candidates if they were employed in a fictional executive job.
"The participants had minimal information about the candidates," lead author Dr. Fabio Fasoli told Broadly. "Just a short audio file saying, 'Hello, I'm Mark, I'm 32 years old.' Then we'd manipulate the voice electronically, so that half sounded [stereotypically] straight, and half sounded gay.
“The participant didn't know anything about the actual sexual orientation of the person, they were only exposed to a voice commonly perceived as gay or straight sounding."
Dr Fasoli said the study found that heterosexual men were less likely to choose the gay-sounding speaker over the straight one.
"It could be that they preferred to interact with the straight-sounding person, or that they wanted to avoid the gay-sounding one—the results can be interpreted both ways," he said.
The study found that having a heterosexual, rather than a gay sounding voice “created the impression that the speaker had typically masculine traits, which in turn increased the chance to be positively evaluated for the position and to be considered worthy of a higher salary.”
Fasoli hopes the research will make people more aware of the variety of different voices within gay and straight people and “what we normally view as a gay voice is actually based on a stereotype we have."