New study finds that just under a third of working Brits have experienced or witnessed some form of bias in the workplace

by | Apr 7, 2024

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A recent survey conducted by online compliance training company, Skillcast revealed concerning statistics regarding bias in the workplace among UK residents. 

The survey, which included 2,000 UK residents currently or previously in employment, found that nearly a third (30%) reported experiencing or witnessing bias during their careers.

The study highlighted significant variances in bias prevalence across different cities. 

 
 

Newcastle emerged as the city with the highest rate of bias experiences or observations, with 37% of respondents indicating such occurrences. 

Sheffield, however, ranked lowest, with only 21% reporting bias incidents. 

Furthermore, the research delved into bias prevalence across various sectors. Results indicated that individuals in the finance sector were most likely to experience or witness bias, closely followed by those in engineering and manufacturing, as well as the charity sector. 

 
 

Gender bias emerged as the most prevalent form of bias across all sectors, followed by ageism and racial bias. 

The survey also examined the seniority levels of individuals perpetrating bias. Shockingly, around 39% of respondents identified senior management as the primary source of biassed behaviour, followed by middle-level employees and lower-level executives. 

In addition to statistical analysis, the survey gathered qualitative data on specific instances of bias experienced or witnessed by respondents. Instances ranged from class-based bias and appearance-based discrimination to racial and gender bias. 

 
 

Notably, some responses highlighted positive steps taken by organisations to promote equality, such as targeted promotions and accommodation of religious practices. 

Commenting on the findings, CEO of Skillcast, Vivek Dodd, stated, “These findings underscore the persistent challenges of bias in the workplace. It is imperative for organisations to foster inclusive environments where individuals are valued based on merit, rather than stereotypes or prejudices.”

“Making unconscious bias training mandatory in the workplace will help businesses take a step further towards improving the workplace culture for every employee.

 
 

“Businesses across the UK should also make sure that employees feel comfortable raising their experiences. 45% of individual respondents don’t blow the whistle for fear of a bad reputation, and by experiencing bias already, this fear can be greater. Train your employees to understand when, how and to whom they can report misconduct and how they will be protected.”

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