One in six workers discrimated against - survey
One in six workers feel they have been discriminated against because of favouritism in the workplace, claims a new survey.
A new study from the Employers Forum on Age (EFA) revealed that 16% workers feel they have been discriminated against when applying for a job or promotion at some point in their career.The findings from the research claim there is a tendency for people to recruit workers who bear similarities to themselves or to others in their company – this is done for the most part unconsciously.
More than a third (35%) of respondents felt they had been discriminated against when trying to move company or when applying for a more senior position in the same company.
Age was the most common reason (17%), closely followed by favouritism or the feeling that the other candidate fitted the company’s ‘personality’ better (16%). Workers in the North were most likely to feel they had fallen victim to favouritism, with 22% in the North East, 20% in Wales and 19% in the North West believing that they had been discriminated against for this reason, compared to 11% in Northern Ireland and 12% in the South West.
Denise Keating, chief executive of the EFA, said: “Whilst age is the biggest discriminator in the workplace, it is important not to overlook other biases, such as favouritism or gender.
‘’There seems to be a very high instance of people being selected for a new job or promotion if their ‘face fits’, which unfortunately means some people feel that talent isn’t enough to overcome prejudices.
‘’ Whilst many companies have solid diversity policies, this may not run throughout the company down to individual team level, which is an issue that needs to be addressed.”
The study also found that almost two thirds (62%) of employees said that all, most or some of their colleagues are similar to them.
When asked what it is they had in common with their co-workers, age was found to be the most common factor (68%), followed by gender (62%) and social background (53%).
Workplaces in Yorkshire and Humber were found to be the least varied, with only 25% of respondents claiming to bear no similarity to any of their colleagues, while there was greater than average diversity in the East Midlands, Northern Ireland, London and East of England (32%).
Unconscious bias in the private sector is more prevalent than the public sector with 29% in the private sector and 35% of public sector workers saying they felt part of a very varied workplace.
“To some extent we all feel some bias that unconsciously affects our immediate reactions to people,’’ said Keating.
‘’However, it is important that employers do all they can to ensure this does not lead to discrimination or favouritism which could cause the exclusion of talented individuals from the recruitment process. Variation in the workforce brings fresh ideas and perspectives from which companies will always benefit.”