Three in five (61%) employees have witnessed or experienced discrimination based on age, race, gender or LGBTQ identity in the workplace.
This is according to a study done by Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, via its 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Study that was done in the US, UK, France and Germany. For the US in particular, the survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 1,100 US employees.
The good thing though: While the study finds that the majority of employees have faced or witnessed discrimination at work, hiring for jobs to improve corporate diversity and inclusion efforts is up 30% year-over-year, according to Glassdoor jobs data, indicating that employers may be responding to the call for more diverse and inclusive work environments.
When it comes to the specific types of discrimination employees are facing, nearly half (45%) report having experienced or witnessed ageism, 42% having experienced or witnessed racism, another 42% having experienced or witnessed gender discrimination and one in three (33%) having experienced or witnessed LGBTQ discrimination at work.
“Creating a company culture that celebrates and respects people for their diverse backgrounds and experiences should be a top priority for all employers,” said Carina Cortez, Glassdoor’s chief people officer. “Employees must feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work, without the fear of prejudice or ridicule, whether intentional or not. It’s critical for employers to actively listen to how their employees feel about what it’s like to work at their company. More importantly, employers must be willing and ready to take action to foster a workplace environment in which all people feel they belong.”
Who Feels Discrimination More: Younger or Older Workers? Men or Women?
The survey shows that younger workers (between the ages of 18 and 34) are more likely to have experienced or witnessed the four types of discrimination at work than older workers (aged 55 and above). When it comes to ageism at work, younger employees (52% of ages 18-34) are more likely than older employees (39% of ages 55+) to have witnessed or experienced it. When it comes to race discrimination at work, younger employees (50% of ages 18-34) are more likely to have experienced or witnessed it than older workers (33% of ages 55+).
When it comes to discrimination based on gender at work, younger workers (52% of ages 18-34) are more likely than older workers (30% of ages 55+) to have experienced or witnessed it. For LGBTQ discrimination at work, younger employees (43% of ages 18-34) are more likely than older employees (18% of ages 55+) to have experienced or witnessed it.
In addition, employed men (38%) are more likely than employed women (28%) to have experienced or witnessed LGBTQ discrimination at work. When it comes to LGBTQ discrimination among younger workers specifically, younger employed men (51% of ages 18-34) are significantly more likely than younger employed women (34% of ages 18-34) to have experienced or witnessed it.
Diversity and Inclusion Job Listings are Up Significantly Since Last Year
While a majority of U.S. employees (61%) report experiencing or witnessing discrimination based on age, gender, race or LGBTQ identity at work, the survey also finds that more than three in four (77%) employees say their company employs a diverse workforce, suggesting that the prevalence of discrimination at work may not improve unless something is proactively done.
At the same time, proactive efforts at companies may be underway now, as more than three in five (64%) workers also say their company is investing more in diversity and inclusion than it has in years past.
As further support of what employees feel is happening at their companies now, Glassdoor’s Economic Research team studied millions of the latest job listings on Glassdoor and found that job openings for roles related to diversity and inclusion at least in the US have increased 30% since last year, with approximately 810 jobs open across the country.
“With more attention on workplace diversity in recent years, it’s encouraging to see jobs data that affirms employers today are in fact investing more in diversity and inclusion by increasing hiring for jobs to support these efforts,” said Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor senior economist. “Many of these open roles range from middle management all the way up to the C-suite and focus on building or strengthening workplace diversity programs. The people who work in these roles tend to have past experience in human resources or talent acquisition and have often made very deliberate decisions to work in the field of diversity and inclusion because they are passionate about ensuring employees of all backgrounds feel welcomed and heard.”
However, there is still more work to be done — more than half (55%) of U.S. workers believe their company should do more to increase diversity and inclusion efforts. This is even more evident among the Gen Z and millennial employees, with more than three in five (62% of ages 18-34) believing their company should do more to increase diversity and inclusion, compared to less than two in five (38%) of workers aged 55 and older.
How Does the US Compare to the UK, France and Germany?
Among the four countries surveyed, the percentage of employees reporting having experienced or witnessed workplace discrimination relating to age, race, gender or LGBTQ identity was highest in the US (61%), followed by the UK (55%), France (43%) and Germany (37%). The US rates also rank highest among each of the individual categories.