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UK Workers Most Likely to Feel Discriminated Against in Europe
June 18, 2019
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New research from ADP ‘The Workforce View in Europe 2019’, reveals that reports of discrimination are highest in the UK where more than a third (38%) of respondents say they have been targeted, compared to a European average of 30%.

It seems young people are also particularly affected, with 49% of UK workers aged 25-34 reporting feeling discriminated against.

The ADP Workforce View in Europe 2019 surveyed over 10,000 employees in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain, delving into how employees feel about issues in the workplace.

Despite numerous high-profile scandals, such as the #MeToo movement, bringing discrimination and workplace harassment into the public eye, the findings indicate it is still an issue in the UK.

ADP’s research showed a decline in reports of discrimination throughout the rest of Europe, down four percentage points from 34% in 2018 to 30% in 2019. In the same time period reports of discrimination in the UK saw a rise of one percentage point from 37% in 2018 to 38% in 2019.

The most types of discrimination reported in the UK were age (11%), gender (9%), appearance (7%) and race / nationality (7%). Interestingly, younger employees were more likely to say they’ve suffered discrimination, perhaps due to greater awareness and changing attitudes to what constitutes discrimination.

Almost half of those aged 25-34 (49%) say they have been discriminated against, compared to just 23% of those over 55.

Age breakdown: Percentage of employees who have felt discriminated against at work

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Regionally, those in London are most likely to feel discriminated against (54%) while those in the East were the least likely (28%).

The research also highlighted differences amongst business sectors, with those working in the Art and Culture (63%), Architecture, Engineering & Building (52%), Travel & Transport (50%) and Financial Services (49%) the most likely to have experienced discrimination.

On the other end of the spectrum, those working in the Education sector were the least likely (29%).

Jeff Phipps, Managing Director at ADP UK, commented:

“ADP’s findings show a worrying pattern that is not changing. While other European countries seem to be reversing the trend of workplace discrimination, employees say that it is simply becoming worse here in the UK.”

He continued: “Employees have a right to feel secure and safe at work and to know their efforts will be recognised based on merit, and employers have a responsibility to deliver this. Businesses must work harder to ensure everyone is treated equally and to root out ingrained practices and workplace cultures that, perhaps even unconsciously, discriminate against certain individuals. Diversity training can be a good first step in the right direction, as can incorporating checks against unconscious bias in recruitment processes. However the most important thing will always be for employers to listen to their employees about any issues and make it a priority to address them.”

About the research

‘The Workforce View in Europe 2019’ report explores the attitudes of employees toward the future of work. The research for ADP was carried out by independent market research agency Opinion Matters in October 2018. The sample consisted of 10,585 working adults in eight territories across Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.


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