Age discrimination is the most common form of prejudice in Australian workplaces, according to data released by global payroll and HR leader ADP.
The survey data was collected as part of ADP’s Global Workforce View 2020 report exploring employees’ attitudes and opinions towards the world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future.
In a survey of 1,908 workers in Australia, nearly a third (31 per cent) reported experiencing some form of discrimination at work. Discrimination on the basis of age was the most recorded, with 11 per cent of Australian workers saying they had experienced this in their current role. The experience of age discrimination amongst the Australian workforce sits slightly below the Asia-Pacific average of 12 per cent.
Age discrimination was closely followed by discrimination on the grounds of gender (8 percent), appearance (5 per cent) and nationality (5 per cent).
Eddie Megas, Managing Director for ADP Australia, said, “We have work to do to with age discrimination in the workplace. While the issue certainly isn’t unique to Australia, I am sure many will be surprised at just how common an experience it is. One in ten workers say they’ve faced age discrimination in their current position.”
The youngest and eldest workers are the most likely to be victims of age discrimination. 38.5 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds stated they had experienced age discrimination, as did 21 per cent of those over 55. The sectors with the highest levels of age discrimination were education, health, IT finance and hospitality.
The survey also found that more than half of Australian workers (56 per cent) are unaware of who to contact in the event of discrimination at work. Only a third (33 per cent) said they would be comfortable raising a claim in the event of discrimination at work. “Our data shows that the incidence of age discrimination is high, and that the processes and protocols to address it are lacking”, said Mr Megas.
14 per cent of those surveyed said they do not feel their company follows good human resources practices with regards to discrimination prevention. This is perhaps unsurprising given 18 per cent of those surveyed said their organisation does not have a HR function.
“Discrimination prevention and resolution is often the domain of HR departments. Businesses who do not have this dedicated function are likely to be the least prepared to effectively prevent and respond to discrimination in the workplace.”
“As a minimum, business owners and managers need to educate themselves on anti-discrimination laws. Not only is discrimination illegal, but employers have a duty of care to protect their teams from harassment or unfair treatment at work.
“Every workplace should have established procedures relating to discrimination and harassment, which all staff are bound by. A clear framework to live by and processes to report instances of discrimination is the best way to protect both your business and your workers.”