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Half of Kiwis believe discrimination exists in their workplace - survey

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Forty-five per cent of Kiwis believe discrimination exists in their workplace and have witnessed some form of prejudice in the last 12 months, according to a Trade Me Jobs survey.

Head of Trade Me Jobs Jeremy Wade said 1,700 New Zealanders took part in the annual survey about workplace equality.

"Diversity in the workplace is vital for so many reasons. It’s been proven to facilitate innovation, improve productivity and increase employee engagement.

"Everyone has the right to be treated equally and we were gutted to find that for many Kiwis, discrimination is still a problem in the workplace. One in four respondents told us they felt personally discriminated against at work this year, while 43 per cent had seen it happen to someone else."

Age came out as the most common form of prejudice (23 per cent), followed by gender (22 per cent) and ethnicity (20 per cent). The person most likely to be discriminating was a manager (73 per cent) followed by a peer (19 per cent).

Mr Wade said unfortunately when we compare these results to our 2018 survey, there has been no progress, in fact, more New Zealanders believe discrimination occurs in their place of work this year than last year. (40 per cent of respondents in 2018 said they thought prejudice existed in their workplace).

"Everyone has the right to feel safe at work and employers, and senior management should be setting a high bar.

"We think it’s important that employers are taking action to address this issue and create a more inclusive workplace for everyone. Employees agree, with 65 per cent of Kiwis saying more could be done to promote inclusiveness in their workplace."

Ageism still a problem

Mr Wade said ageism plays the biggest role in discrimination in workplaces across New Zealand and out of all factors, Kiwis said age was the most common motivator.

"Seventy-one per cent of those surveyed said their age affects their chance of getting a job in New Zealand, and 88 per cent of respondents over 55 believe their age has a moderate or major impact on securing a job.

"New Zealand has an aging population and if we want to continue to grow productivity, some employers should consider opening their minds to the diverse thinking and experience that mature workers bring to the table."

Men less likely to take action

Mr Wade said the survey found that men were less likely than women to take action when they have experienced discrimination.

"Women who had personally experienced some form of prejudice in the workplace were more likely to speak up, with 75 per cent raising the incident with management, compared to

64 per cent of men.

"It’s encouraging to see that both genders are more inclined to speak up when personally discriminated against. Last year just 55 per cent of women and 49 per cent of men spoke out after experiencing discrimination.

Mr Wade said one in four survey respondents took no action when they had personally experienced discrimination in the workplace and one-third of Kiwis who witnessed a colleague being discriminated against did not raise it.

Under 25s most likely to ask for a pay rise

Mr Wade said the survey also discovered some interesting things about pay.

"Employees under 25 are more likely to ask for a pay increase than any other age group, with 19 per cent of Kiwis under 25 saying they have asked for a pay increase in the last 12 months.

"On the other end of the spectrum, employees over 65 were the least likely to have the pay conversation with just 5 per cent claiming they’ve requested a pay rise in the last year."

Mr Wade said the survey also busted a common myth about pay. "Men and women are both just as vocal about their pay packet, with 11 per cent of women and 11 per cent of men asking for a pay review in the last year."

Promoting diversity

Mr Wade said the purpose of this survey was not to point the finger but to encourage all employers to take note. "We can all do more to promote diversity in the workplace and there are a range of initiatives which can help make a difference. Things like being considered with language that you use, encouraging others to contribute to the cultural diversity in their workplace or observing a range of cultural celebrations, these small steps can really help a business achieve a healthy workplace culture.

"The more employees feel valued, welcomed and included at work, the better the work environment becomes for everyone."

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