Harassment affecting over half of female employees

More than half of female employees in financial services have experienced, or know someone who has, harassment or sexism in the workplace, according to a report by the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA).

According to a report which surveyed almost 800 members working in financial services, there were more incidences in the last five years combined with increased discomfort in raising issues of gender equality.

Some 51% of women said they had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or sexism at work and 13% said they had ‘often’ done so. Just over a third of women said they had ‘never’ experienced or witnessed it.

For males, 62% said they ‘never’ experienced or witnessed it, 35% had done and just 3% said they had ‘often’.

Source: FINSIA

The highest percentage of women who had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or sexism at work was found in those under-25 with zero respondents in that category stating that they ‘never’ experienced or witnessed it.

Of the 13% of women in the survey who responded they had seen or experienced it ‘often’, the highest proportion were under-25.

There had also been an increase in discomfort about speaking up about gender inequality with the number of female respondents who said they would feel comfortable in raising issues to their organisation’s leadership falling from 43% to 32%.

If they did, they felt most comfortable doing so to another women (31%) rather than a man (7%).

Men also indicated they felt more uncomfortable with the number falling from 50% to 45% and said they would be most likely to raise it with a mixed group rather than another man.

Meanwhile, more women said they had experienced “differing treatment” in the workplace compared to their male colleagues.

Over 40% said they had experienced this related to promotional opportunities, rising to 50% related to meetings and 77% related to assignment of tasks.

Looking at the executive management specifically, there was a clear divide at the senior levels with 39% of men saying they had ‘never’ experienced differing treatment in promotions compared to just 8% of women. Similarly, 47% of men at executive management level had ‘never’ experienced differing treatment regarding pay or benefits compared to 9% of females.

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