Foreign-born workers and those who describe themselves as struggling financially are more likely to experience violence and harassment in the workplace, according to Lloyd’s Register Foundation. The global safety charity is now calling for the widespread ratification of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 190 – an internationally recognised inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach for the prevention and elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.
Analysed in a new report – Focus On: The impact of income and migration on violence and harassment at work – data has been taken from Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s World Risk Poll, powered by Gallup. Globally, it found that foreign-born workers were more likely to have experienced violence and harassment in the workplace (28% vs 22% of native-born workers). Additionally, 56% of native-born workers who reported experiencing violence and harassment at work also told someone else about their experience. For foreign-born workers, this dropped slightly to 53%.
On a regional level, more significant differences were seen in Australia and New Zealand and Northern America, where foreign-born workers were 10 percentage points and 17 percentage points, respectively, less likely to tell someone about their experiences when compared to their native-born counterparts. This compares to Northern and Western Europe – a similarly high-income region – where the difference is only two percentage points. When asked for the reason for not telling someone about experiences of violence and harassment in the workplace, foreign-born workers were significantly more likely to cite not knowing what to do or being unclear on procedures.
In contrast, only 10% of workers in South-east Asia reported experiencing violence and harassment in the workplace. Bucking the global trend, the data from the World Risk Poll showed that foreign-born workers (93%) here are actually more likely to tell someone about their experiences when compared to those working in their country of birth (42%).
Discrepancies increase when considering the financial stability of workers across the world. For example, 23% of those who describe themselves as struggling financially reported experiences of violence and harassment at work – compared with 19% of those who describe themselves as financially comfortable. This gap widens when analysing the data from foreign-born workers who are struggling financially (33%, vs 26% of those who are financially comfortable). In Northern America, foreign-born workers struggling financially are the group most likely to experience violence and harassment at work, while simultaneously being the least likely to tell someone about their experience.
As a result of the report’s findings, Lloyd’s Register Foundation is calling on more countries to ratify ILO Convention 190 as a global priority. ILO Convention 190 is the first international labour standard to provide a common framework to prevent, remedy and eliminate violence and harassment in the world of work. Despite being introduced in 2019, very few countries have ratified the convention, including the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Aaron Gardner, Data and Insight Scientist at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said: “Violence and harassment has become a global issue, and more must be done to support those suffering in the workplace. The evidence is clear for all to see, and the issue is unlikely to go away on its own. One action that governments and policymakers can take immediately is the ratification of ILO Convention 190.
“However, ratification must provide the impetus for practical action to address experiences of violence and harassment in the workplace. Data from the World Risk Poll can be used by governments, employers and trade unions to create targeted approaches to reduce the harm experienced at a local level, ensuring all employees are protected.”
To compile the report, 125,000 people across 121 countries were polled about their experiences of workplace violence and harassment. All those interviewed were given a comprehensive definition of each of the three forms of ‘violence and harassment’ that they were asked about – physical, psychological, and sexual.