Prominent movements against sexual harassment, including #MeToo and Time’s Up, have given over a quarter of UK workers the confidence to report sexual harassment they see or experience in the workplace, according to new research from Monster.co.uk.
While the research unearthed the positive impact the movements have had, it also highlighted the extent of gender discrimination and sexual harassment still taking place in workplaces across the country. Over a third (31 per cent) of UK workers said they had either experienced or witnessed gender inequality in the workplace in the past twelve months; this was more prevalent in women, with a quarter saying that they had experienced it themselves, compared to 9 per cent of men. Younger generations were also more likely to say they have either experienced or witnessed it, than those aged over 35.
Worryingly, Monster.co.uk’s research also found that over a quarter (21 per cent) of UK employees have directly experienced, or witnessed, sexual harassment in the workplace. With 18 per cent of women reporting they have experienced harassment directly in the last year. Monster.co.uk data also saw an 18 per cent uplift in men reporting sexual harassment in the last twelve months.
The research also showed only 44 per cent of Brits believe that men and women have an equal chance of being hired for the same role, even if they have the same qualifications and experience. Women are more likely to feel there is lack of equality in the workplace, with only a third (35 per cent) believing they have an equal chance of securing a job; compared to 55 per cent of men. 41 per cent of employees still feel that women need to work harder to get a promotion. Demonstrating that attitudes are changing, those aged 35 and under feel more confident that they have an equal chance in the workplace regardless of their gender.
Organisations play a fundamental role in creating gender parity in the workplace. When asked, 69 per cent of HR professionals said they do have policies in place to guarantee equality between men and women when hiring, a 7 per cent increase since 2016. However, 28 per cent feel that their organisations’ policies need to be updated to encourage further gender equality in the workplace. Alarmingly, a further 25 per cent admit that the policies they do have in place aren’t always followed during the recruitment process.
VP of Marketing Europe at Monster, Sinead Bunting says,
“#MeToo and Time’s Up have clearly had a profound impact and raised awareness of sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace. It’s refreshing to see these issues being talked about openly in offices and to see more of us feeling confident to stand up for what is right – but there is still a lot more to be done.
“HR and business leaders have the ability to help shift attitudes and create equal playing fields and safe spaces where concerns can be heard. Companies need to empower their workers to come forward if they see something they don’t believe is right, and give them the confidence that any issues reported will be handled sensitively and treated seriously.”