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Despite some evidence that gay men hold fewer government jobs in the U.S. than their population share would predict, analysis of two large surveys of Canadian university and college students shows no lack desire for public sector jobs among GLBTQs. Instead, we find that (1) GLBTQs are more likely than heterosexuals to prefer public and nonprofit sector employment; (2) GLBTQ career goals and work values predict a stronger desire for public and nonprofit sector jobs than do those of heterosexuals; and (3) GLBTQs expect to pay a smaller penalty for working in the public and nonprofit sectors. In partial support of public service motivation theory, we find that altruistic motives drive students to both the public and the nonprofit sectors (though desires for job security and strong health and benefit plans have a bigger impact on wanting a government job). Despite economists’ findings that the federal government pays comparable workers more than the private sector, students preparing for government jobs expect to earn less than those heading to the private sector, and students who prioritize starting salary and advancement opportunities prefer private sector jobs.


This is the accepted version of the following article:

Lewis, G. B. and Ng, E. S. (2013), Sexual orientation, work values, pay, and preference for public and nonprofit employment: Evidence from Canadian postsecondary students. Canadian Public Administration, 56: 542–564.

The article has been published in final form at doi: 10.1111/capa.12039