Despite advances in workplace sensitivity training, an overwhelming 66 percent of respondents in a recent survey indicate that they have been the victim of either gender bias or sexual harassment, or both, in the construction industry.
The survey conducted by the Engineering News-Record took in the comments of exactly 1,248 respondents who were asked a series of questions regarding workplace gender conditions.
The publication, conducting the study in conjunction with Architectural Record magazine, revealed that besides those who said they have faced some form of bias or harassment in the workplace, nearly 60 percent of respondents also indicated they witnessed such activity firsthand.
Respondents included those working in craft, technical, business, and management positions in construction companies of varying sizes in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents who said they had experienced sexual harassment at the workplace pointed to “inappropriate personal requests, questions, jokes or innuendo.”
At the same time, many respondents, notes the Engineering News-Record, “voiced confusion in definitions of and responses to gender bias and sexual harassment.” One Midwest male respondent suggested that in certain instances, an “accusation seems enough to convict without full investigation.”
Although many companies have established anti-gender harassment policies in an effort to combat such problems, some 25 percent of respondents said their employers had no such policies in place.
Among those indicating the existence of such policies, 35 percent said they were effective, while 20 percent said they were not.
An even larger 39 percent reported that their employers do not require acceptable workplace behavior training, while 41 percent said such training is required for new and existing employees.
Overall, notes the Engineering News-Record, “the majority of survey respondents says the construction industry still has its work cut out in understanding and resolving sexual harassment and gender bias issues, with nearly 63 percent concluding that sector-wide efforts are moving too slowly.”
By Garry Boulard
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