Sexual harassment experienced by 18% of employees, discrimination on the rise - survey

Half of workers surveyed said racism is a problem in the workplace.
Sexual harassment experienced by 18% of employees, discrimination on the rise - survey

Muireann Duffy

Almost one in five workers have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, according to a recent survey.

The Workplace Equality Survey found, despite high levels of people working from home in 2020 due to the pandemic, 18 per cent of respondents said they have experienced sexual harassment in their workplace, up from 10 per cent in 2019.

Half of those surveyed said racism at work is a problem in Ireland and 60 per cent said there are fewer opportunities for people from ethnic minorities.

Of those who experienced discrimination, pay discrimination was the most common form cited, identified by 42 per cent of respondents. Almost one quarter said they know of a colleague of the opposite sex, doing the same job, who is getting paid more than them.

Asked what action they would take if they felt they were being subjected to pay discrimination, 55 per cent said they would raise the issue with their manager, 14 per cent said they would ask for a pay increase, and 12 per cent said they would look for another job. Just 1 per cent of workers said they would resign over the matter.

'Equal playing field'

The study, carried out by Matrix Recruitment, also found that 74 per cent believe the glass ceiling exists for women in Ireland, however, only 28 per cent said it existed in their own workplace.

Regarding opportunities for promotion, 53 per cent said men had more opportunities, while 43 per cent stated there was an "equal playing field".

"Over the past four years of our Workplace Equality Survey, data indicates that professional prejudice against women is a problem," Joanne Foley of Matrix Recruitment said.

"Unconscious bias has a huge part to play in inequality in general, and until unconscious bias training is made mandatory for managers and HR teams then the issues surrounding discrimination and the glass ceiling will continue," she added.

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