Employee Engagement

A new global study of 11.000 employees shows three in four (73%) of British workers say they have never felt discriminated against at work with their current employer.

Revealing the scale and specifics of perceptions on the issue, the study from ADP Research institute found that overall, ageism is the most common form of perceived discrimination in the workplace. 8% of respondents say they have been discriminated against on the grounds of their age, with young people (18-24 year olds) the most likely to feel affected (19%), followed by 25-34 year olds (10%) and 45+ year olds (6%).

Gender and appearance are the next most reported forms (7% and 6% respectively) of discrimination. The list of possible reasons for feeling targeted is long, including race, religion and disability as well as education, background, mental health, family circumstances and neurological differences.

The Workforce View 2020 Volume Two post-COVID-19 report explores how employees feel about current issues in the workplace and the future of work, and whether the effects of the pandemic have impacted their perspectives.

Jeff Phipps, Managing Director at ADP, commented: “Workplace discrimination has been making headlines in recent years, whether its ageism, religion, disability or racial discrimination. Yet, as shown in the research findings, most employees find it hard to raise claims or are unaware of what to do.

“Employers must stay alert to this issue, take a proactive approach to tackle potential prejudice and unconscious bias and ensure equal treatment for all. A lack of adequate protocol or process in some organisations could undermine efforts to increase inclusivity and create a culture of openness.

“It is also important to encourage those employees who don’t experience discrimination to support those who do, as discrimination in the workplace can be extremely alienating.

“This is especially important as mass moves to remote working in the wake of COVID-19 change workforce dynamics. Policies and procedures may need to adapt accordingly to take account of how workers are being managed and supported in this new and uncertain environment.”

Jeff adds, “Post-pandemic, employers are having to make a lot of difficult decisions very rapidly around strategy, operations and jobs, but they can’t afford to make mistakes that could open them up to calls of discrimination. How businesses are seen to treat workers is more important in tough times than ever for worker morale, but also brand reputation too.”

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