Sexual harassment at work, unfortunately, is still omnipresent. And even if one might think that growing emancipation as well as the sensitization of the society for sexual harassment might have contributed to a reduction of sexual assaults at work, it doesn’t seem like it. According to an EU-level study “Working conditions in the European Union“, there is evidence that violence at work is even to rise.
It is for this reason that the job search engine JOBswype polled its users in all ten countries in which JOBswype is operating if they have ever experienced sexual harassment at work. The three possible answers suggested were “never”, “rarely” or “frequently”. The results are mostly homogenous and it is pleasing to see that in all participating countries the percentage of people who have never been sexually harassed is more than 60%.
It is also striking that the figures of the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) are notably similar whereas the same can be said about the figures of the states of the former Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic and Slovakia). Rumania is the country, where the largest number of employees have never been sexually harassed (80%). 18% of the Rumanians answered “rarely” and only 2% answered “frequently”. The United Kingdom as well as Poland are, in contrast, the two countries, where employees seem to be experiencing sexual harassment at work most often – or at least those two countries, where employees have the courage to state it most often. The figures in both countries represent 21%. But it must be indicated that polls concerning a critical subject like this should be handled with caution since victims of sexual harassment often feel ashamed or don’t dare to talk about such an experience for other reasons. The country with the second largest percentage of people who have never been sexually harassed is Slovenia with 77%, followed by the Czech Republic (75%), Austria (72%), Ireland (71%), Switzerland, Germany and Poland with 67% each and Hungary (64%). The country where sexual harassment at work seems to be the case more often is the United Kingdom with only 62% who have never been sexually harassed and 21% who experience sexual harassment frequently.
These numbers – even though in some countries more than in others – are still too high and it is clearly unacceptable that employees are being harassed at work by their own colleagues or supervisors. A reduction of sexual harassment at work could be achieved by raising the awareness of that issue in enterprises all over the world, by teaching employees in how to react and how to handle sexual harassment as well as by providing psychological support for victims.
JOBswype polled its users in February 2016.