Kiwis report widespread discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination, Loneliness, Mental Health Or Depression Concept. Sad Upset Man Holding Head Or Eyes.Workplace discrimination is a widespread problem in New Zealand, according to a Trade Me Jobs survey, which revealed that 40 per cent of Kiwis believe discrimination exists in their current workplace and have witnessed some form of prejudice in the last 12 months.

“We were gutted so many Kiwis have experienced or witnessed discrimination at work in the past year. One in four told us they felt personally discriminated against in their current place of work, while 43 per cent had seen it happen to someone else,” said Jeremy Wade, head of Trade Me Jobs.

More than 1500 New Zealanders took part in the survey.

The most common cause of discrimination reported was age (22 per cent), followed by ethnicity (18 per cent) and gender (18 per cent). The person most likely to be discriminating was a manager (65 per cent) followed by a peer (21 per cent).

Sadly, 92 per cent of respondents who had personally experienced discrimination said it happened more than once.

Wade said that action is clearly needed, and employers should be setting a high bar.

“Diversity and inclusivity matters in the workplace. We know it leads to better business performance, more innovation, talent retention and a healthy workplace culture,” he said.

“It’s not about pointing the finger but the data is overwhelming in both the extent of the issue and the desire for improvement. 62 per cent of Kiwis agree more could be done to promote this.”

Job seekers face ageism, sexism

One third of survey respondents who had experienced prejudice or seen it happen to someone else in the workplace took no action. But of those who did, women were slightly more likely than men to speak up, either verbally or in writing. Young people under the age of 25 were less likely to take action, with around half of respondents saying they chose to keep quiet.

“Young people starting out in the workplace are often not as sure of themselves as those who have been in the workforce longer. The findings highlight the duty of care we have in making sure we have a safe workplace for all employees, especially our more vulnerable,” Wade said.

On a positive note, 60 per cent of respondents said they knew how to raise concerns about discrimination within their workplace.
The survey revealed that ageism is a common problem for job seekers, with one third of respondents saying they’d been subject to discrimination when applying for a job. Sexism can also be a factor, with 40 per cent of women reporting discrimination when applying for a job.

The survey also busted a common myth about pay.

“While we know from our own data that women are less likely to apply for high-paying roles, it seems women are more likely to ask for a pay rise than men,” Wade said.

“Of those respondents who had recently received a pay rise, 14 per cent of women had asked for a pay increase while 12 per cent of men had done the same.”

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