The study, “Diversity in the Workplace,” was designed to gauge the frequency, severity and occasion for perceptions of discrimination or unfair treatment and how diversity impacts hiring, compensation and career advancement. It focused on seven diverse segments including workers with disabilities, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, women, mature workers age 50 or older and Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender workers.
“More and more employers are expressing concern over the loss of intellectual capital as a large number of workers approach retirement age and smaller generations of replacement workers enter the workforce,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.com. “The median age of the labor force is rising and employers are playing greater emphasis on addressing the needs of seasoned workers to maintain strategic vision and productivity. However, this study indicates there is definitely room for improvement.”
“Employers cannot lose sight of the valuable contributions mature workers bring to the workplace. They are an important resource in fostering a healthy, balanced, diverse work culture,” said Nina Ramsey, senior vice president of Human Resources at Kelly Services.
Severity of Discrimination or Unfair Treatment in the Workplace
When asked to judge the severity of the discrimination or unfair treatment at work, 69 percent of mature workers who had experienced this treatment categorized it as moderate; 16 percent as severe.
Frequency of Discrimination or Unfair Treatment in the Workplace
Slightly more than one-third (34 percent) of mature workers reported experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment on the job weekly, the second highest of all the diverse segments surveyed. Fourteen percent of mature workers said they experience discrimination or unfair treatment monthly.
Discriminating or Unfair Behaviors
The most common incidents of discrimination or unfair treatment involved:
• Co-workers talking behind the worker’s back (51 percent)
• Not receiving credit for their work (39 percent)
• Not being given projects that provide worker with more visibility in the company (39 percent)
• Feeling that concerns are not addressed or taken seriously (35 percent)
• Overlooked for a promotion (32 percent)
• Felt that they were not given the same training as other workers (30 percent)
• Felt ideas or input were generally ignored (26 percent)
• Co-workers said derogatory comments to them or in front of them (25 percent)
Pay and Career Advancement
In terms of compensation, close to one-in-five (18 percent) mature workers feel they are paid less than younger counterparts with the same skills and experience; 46 percent feel it’s the same; 27 percent feel they are paid more.
More than one-third (35 percent) of mature workers said they are dissatisfied with their career progress. One-in-four (25 percent) feel they have less career advancement opportunities than younger co-workers who have the same skills and experience; half (51 percent) feel it’s the same.
Mature Workers and Younger Bosses
Forty-two percent of mature workers have supervisors who are younger than they are and 20 percent said their supervisor shows more favoritism to the younger co-workers in the office. However, 85 percent of mature workers reported that co-workers treat them the same as the younger workers in the office.
Nearly one-in-four (24 percent) mature workers said they feel they are being pushed into an early retirement; 33 percent said they feel, as they get closer to retirement, that they are being stripped of their duties.
Reporting of Discrimination or Unfair Treatment
Unfortunately, most of the discrimination or unfair treatment goes unaddressed. More than half (54 percent) of mature workers who experienced discrimination or unfair treatment said they did not report the incident to their direct supervisor, HR or other authority figure. Of these workers, 69 percent said they didn’t think reporting the incident would make a difference while half (50 percent) feared being pegged as a trouble-maker and 59 percent feared losing their jobs, the highest of all the diverse segments surveyed.
One-third (32 percent) of mature workers did bring attention to the discrimination or unfair treatment by reporting it to their direct supervisor. Another 30 percent reported it to Human Resources while one-in-five (22 percent) reported it to someone in senior management. However, only 30 percent of those who made a claim felt it was taken seriously and, 63 percent report that the offender was not held accountable. Only 1 percent ever took legal action against their employer.
When asked why those being discriminated against stay with their current employer, 67 percent of mature workers said they couldn’t afford to quit while more than half (52 percent) thought it was likely they would encounter the same discrimination or unfair behavior at another company.
One-in-five (21 percent) mature workers said they have witnessed what they perceived to be discrimination or unfair treatment of a co-worker based on their diverse background. More than half (53 percent) of mature workers reported the incident and 58 percent said they would report it in the future.
Diversity – Hiring and Firing
The majority (59 percent) of all diverse workers surveyed said their diverse background does not influence whether someone will hire them. However, 35 percent of mature workers said their diverse background works against them as job candidates, while only 5 percent said their diversity works in their favor.
In terms of involuntary termination, one-in-ten mature workers (12 percent) said they believed had been fired at some point in their career based on their diverse background.
Twenty-one percent of all workers – both diverse and non-diverse – said they have witnessed what they perceived to be discrimination or unfair treatment of a co-worker.
This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com and Kelly Services among 953 Workers (age 18+ within the United States, employed full-time or part-time) with 306 being Mature Workers (age 50+ within the United States, employed full-time or part-time) and (189 being age 50-61) between March 15 and March 21, 2007. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
With a pure probability sample of 953 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. With a pure probability sample of 306 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 5.6 percentage points (189 has a sampling error of +/- 7.1 percentage points). Sampling error for data from subsamples is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
About Kelly Services
Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA, KELYB) is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Troy, Mich., offering human resource solutions that include temporary staffing services, outsourcing, vendor on-site and full-time placement. Kelly operates in 33 countries and territories. Kelly provides employment to more than 750,000 employees annually, with skills including office services, accounting, engineering, information technology, law, science, marketing, creative services, light industrial, education, and health care. Revenue in 2006 was $5.5 billion. Visit www.kellyservices.com.
CareerBuilder.com is the nation’s largest online job site with more than 21 million unique visitors and over 1.5 million jobs. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company (NYSE:TRB), The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), the company offers a vast online and print network to help job seekers connect with employers. CareerBuilder.com powers the career centers for more than 1,100 partners that reach national, local, industry and niche audiences. These include more than 150 newspapers and leading portals such as America Online and MSN. More than 300,000 employers take advantage of CareerBuilder.com’s easy job postings, 20 million-plus resumes, Diversity Channel and more. Millions of job seekers visit the site every month to search for opportunities by industry, location, company and job type, sign up for automatic email job alerts, and get advice on job hunting and career management. CareerBuilder.com and its subsidiaries operate in Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit http://www.careerbuilder.com.
Kelly Services Media Contact
(P) (248) 244-4305
CareerBuilder Media Contact
For all media inquiries and interview requests, contact: