Three in ten UK employees discriminated against at work

37 per cent of UK workers have felt discriminated against at work

More than a third of UK employees (37%) have felt discriminated against in the workplace, according to a new study of 1,300 working adults by ADP®. The research reveals that age is the most common reason for discrimination, cited by one in 10 employees (12%), while 8 per cent feel they’ve been discriminated against due to their gender - rising to 11 per cent amongst women. 

UK employers are obliged by law to ensure equal treatment of workers and combat any kind of discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. The findings suggest that despite these rules, many prejudices still exist and are affecting behaviours and decisions - whether explicitly or implicitly - within the workplace. 

Discrimination is more prevalent in some sectors than others, according to the study, with workers in IT and telecoms most likely to have felt discriminated against (53%), along with those in financial services (52%) and arts and culture (50%). In contrast, less than a quarter of those in the travel and transport industry have felt this way, (23%) alongside just 27 per cent in manufacturing. 

The study also suggests that standards and perceptions of behaviour have shifted across the generations, with those in so-called ‘Generation Snowflake’ more sensitive to unfair treatment than their more mature colleagues. According to the findings, half (50%) of those under 35 say they have felt discriminated against, compared to just a quarter (26%) of those over the age of 45. The contrast is visible across both age (15% vs 14%), gender (11% vs 5%) and other types of discrimination.  

“Workplace discrimination has hit the headlines in the last 12 months, with the #MeToo movement and BBC pay row shining a spotlight on the inequality that still exists within many professions,” commented Jeff Phipps, Managing Director at ADP UK. “Our findings show that the problem is by no means limited to the entertainment and media industries, suggesting that more needs to be done across all sectors to ensure these types of prejudices are rooted out of the system.”  

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