Story at a glance

  • More companies are hiring for jobs to improve corporate diversity and inclusion efforts.
  • Still, in 2019, a study found that 3 in 5 employees have seen or been victim to discrimination based on age, race, gender or LGBTQ+ identity at work.
  • The most common type of discrimination is ageism, especially for younger workers.

It's the thought that matters, at least in theory. But in the case of workplace discrimination, even efforts to encourage diversity and inclusion haven't seemed to matter for employees. 

More than 3 in 4 U.S. employees say their company employs a diverse workforce, according to a Glassdoor survey in 2019. At the same time, 3 in 5 U.S. employees have experienced or witnessed discrimination based on age, race, gender or LGBTQ+ identity at work. 

The contrast suggests that companies need to make proactive efforts to address workplace discrimination in order to see improvement, says Glassdoor's Economic Research team. The study also looked at the latest job listings on Glassdoor and found that since 2018, there has been a 30 percent increase in job openings for roles related to diversity and inclusion in the U.S.

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“Many of these open roles range from middle management all the way up to the C-suite and focus on building or strengthening workplace diversity programs. The people who work in these roles tend to have past experience in human resources or talent acquisition and have often made very deliberate decisions to work in the field of diversity and inclusion because they are passionate about ensuring employees of all backgrounds feel welcomed and heard,” said Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor senior economist. 

Still, 45 percent of U.S. employees have experienced or witnessed ageism at work, 42 percent have experienced or witnessed racism or gender discrimination and 33 percent have experienced or witnessed LGBTQ discrimination. 

And it's not always women or minorities who feel the most discrimination. The survey showed that men are more likely to have experienced or witnessed either age or LGBTQ+ discrimination at work. As a whole, younger workers are more likely to have experienced or witnessed the four types of discrimination at work than those age 55 and above. However, the disparity could also signal a generational difference in sensing discrimination and being willing to report it. 

On all fronts, however, the U.S. was behind the United Kingdom, France and Germany in the prevalence of discrimination in the workplace. 

Published on Feb 11, 2020