Survey: 61% of US Employees Have Experienced Or Witnessed Discrimination at Work

The study also shows that hiring for jobs to improve corporate diversity and inclusion efforts is up 30 percent year-over-year.

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MILL VALLEY, CA — Glassdoor, one of the world's largest job and recruiting sites, on Wednesday released its 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Study in the U.S., UK, France and Germany. As part of the study, a new Glassdoor survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 1,100 U.S. employees, finds that about three in five (61 percent) U.S. employees have witnessed or experienced discrimination based on age, race, gender or LGBTQ identity in the workplace. The survey also reveals the occurrences of discrimination across each of the four categories. In addition, while the study finds that the majority of U.S. employees have faced or witnessed discrimination at work, hiring for jobs to improve corporate diversity and inclusion efforts is up 30 percent 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 U.S. employees are facing, nearly half (45 percent) report having experienced or witnessed ageism, 42 percent having experienced or witnessed racism, another 42 percent having experienced or witnessed gender discrimination and one in three (33 percent) 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 percent of ages 18-34) are more likely than older employees (39 percent of ages 55+) to have witnessed or experienced it. When it comes to race discrimination at work, younger employees (50 percent of ages 18-34) are more likely to have experienced or witnessed it than older workers (33 percent of ages 55+).  When it comes to discrimination based on gender at work, younger workers (52 percent of ages 18-34) are more likely than older workers (30 percent of ages 55+) to have experienced or witnessed it. For LGBTQ discrimination at work, younger employees (43 percent of ages 18-34) are more likely than older employees (18 percent of ages 55+) to have experienced or witnessed it.

In addition, employed men (38 percent) are more likely than employed women (28 percent) to have experienced or witnessed LGBTQ discrimination at work in the U.S. When it comes to LGBTQ discrimination among younger workers specifically, younger employed men (51 percent of ages 18-34) are significantly more likely than younger employed women (34 percent 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 percent) 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 percent) 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 percent) 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 in the U.S. have increased 30 percent 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 percent) 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 percent of ages 18-34) believing their company should do more to increase diversity and inclusion, compared to less than two in five (38 percent) of workers aged 55 and older.

How Does the U.S. 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 U.S. (61 percent), followed by the UK (55 percent), France (43 percent) and Germany (37 percent). The U.S. rates also rank highest among each of the individual categories.

Discrimination in the Workplace

Glassdoor 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Survey conducted by The Harris Poll

METHODOLOGY: This survey was conducted online within the United States (U.S.), United Kingdom (UK), France and Germany by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from July 29 - 31, 2019 among 5,241 adults aged 18 and older, among which 2,028 are in the U.S., 1,071 are in the UK, 1,052 are in France, and 1,090 are in Germany. Furthermore, among all countries, 3,137 are employed full-time/part-time/self-employed, 1,113 are employees in the U.S., 725 are employees in the UK, 654 are employees in France, and 645 are employees in Germany. 

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