One in six workers in the UK – 17% – believe that men and women are treated differently in the workplace, according to the annual Attitudes to Work study from IFF Research.
The study of 460 employees found that 12% believe men are treated better than women at work, with a further 5% agreeing women are treated better than men. Exploring the issue in greater depth, it also found that views on gender discrimination differ significantly between the sexes.
Whereas 15% of females believe men are treated better than women in the workplace, only 1% believe the reverse to be true. Men are just as likely to see themselves as the beneficiaries of discrimination as the victims, with 10% believing men are treated better than women and 9% agreeing that women come out better than men.
Jan Shury, join MD at IFF Research, said: “We are seeing a stark gender divide among those who think discrimination exists. What’s even more interesting is the form in which people think discrimination takes place as this also differs greatly between the sexes. Men are seen as having an advantage in remuneration and career progression, whereas women are seen to be ahead in terms of how they are treated at a more personal level.”
Of those who believe male employees are treated better than females, 47% say men are more likely to be promoted, 38% think men are paid more and 26% believe men are treated with more respect.
Among those who think women are treated better than men, though, the most commonly cited reason is that women are treated with greater lenience than men – 46% believe they find it easier to get time off or are punished less if they make mistakes, for example. Only 22% believe women are more likely to be promoted.
Shury added: “We can take comfort from our findings that, although 17% believe the sexes are treated differently, 78% think they are treated the same; this latter figure is pretty consistent across both the men and women we interviewed. Nonetheless, it seems we still have a way to go before perceptions of gender bias are confined to a tiny minority.”