Some see Harvey Weinstein’s ousting from a popular position in public opinion as a watershed moment for fighting sexual harassment. Here at the HR Daily Advisor we are no strangers to accounts like those of victims that have swept the presses recently. Indeed, sexual harassment is at least as old as Hollywood itself – but the swift reaction to it might be something new.
The fact that companies are addressing sexual harassment in a prompt and public way has come about for a number of reasons, including the issues associated with a tainted brand, the fear of litigation and its financial consequences, and maybe, just maybe, positive change in the workplace at large.
Yet, despite several recent incidents where predators have lost positions of power, sexual harassment remains an issue with which many workers struggle.
By Age and Occupation
A survey of more than 10,000 employees conducted by Comparably, a provider of comprehensive compensation and workplace culture data, finds that 28 percent of female employees and 7 percent of male employees answered “yes” to the question, “Have you ever been sexually harassed at work?”
While this in itself is cause enough for concern, perhaps even more alarming are responses by age group.
As might be expected, older workers, 51 years of age to 66+, who were in the workforce when there wasn’t as much oversight, and for the purpose of analysis include four survey groups, are those most likely to have encountered sexual harassment at work.
However, the next age group with the most “yes” responses is the youngest survey group, workers 18 to 25 years of age. This suggests that sexual harassment at work is not something that happened to past generations. It is prevalent today.
What’s more, sexual harassment appears to be widespread in certain professions.
Consider these findings, by occupational area:
|IT||34% of females||7% of males|
|Business Development||33% of females||8% of males|
|Engineering||33% of females||5% of males|
|Operations||31% of females||11% of males|
|Marketing||31% of females||10% of males|
|Executive||29% of females||7% of males|
|Design||28% of females||8% of males|
|Legal||27% of females||20% of males|
|Sales||26% of females||11% of males|
|Admin||26% of females||17% of males|
|Communications||25% of females||9% of males|
The positions included here are those where at least 25 percent of respondents indicate they have been sexually harassed at work.
It begs the question, where is HR? The survey suggests HR has issues of its own. Among survey respondents working in HR, 17 percent of females and 7 percent of males say they have been sexually harassed at work.
Data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shows that sex-based harassment allegations, which include charges alleging sexual harassment, have not declined in recent years; from 2010 through 2016 they basically remained flat:
These numbers include charges filed with the EEOC only; they do not include charges filed with state or local fair employment practices agencies.