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Focus On: The impact of income and migration on violence and harassment at work

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This short report explores the impact of income and migration on violence and harassment at work.

Addressing global violence and harassment at work

Violence and harassment at work has been and remains a pervasive problem globally. However, efforts to combat it have been fragmented and often lacked context leading to a lack of impact. To address this, in 2019 the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted a new labour standard to combat violence and harassment at work. The Violence and Harassment Convention 2019 (C190)1 , and the Violence and Harassment Recommendation 2019 (R206), were adopted by delegates representing governments and employers’ and workers’ organisations. However, a significant standardised global dataset remained lacking.

To respond to this need Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the ILO joined forces with Gallup in 2021 to create the first global survey on violence and harassment at work as part of the broader Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll. The Poll gauges people’s experience of physical, psychological, and sexual violence and harassment at work and whether they told someone about it (and if so, who) to identify global, national, and demographic trends for intervention. This process culminated in the release of sister reports ‘Safe at Work? Global experiences of violence and harassment’ and ‘Experiences of violence and harassment at work: A global first survey’, which describe the global picture of violence and harassment at work.

In this Focus On report, we build on our primary report by focusing on two key groups often associated with increased reporting of violence and harassment to the Poll: foreign born workers, and those who describe themselves as struggling financially. We show that experience of violence and harassment at work, and an unwillingness to tell other people about it, goes hand in hand with concern about personal income. This is especially true for foreign-born workers in countries and regions with high levels of income inequality.

Key findings

  • Workers who are struggling financially are more likely to experience violence and harassment (23%) than those who are financially comfortable (19%).
  • Foreign-born workers who are struggling financially are less likely to tell someone about their experience (e.g. only 35% told someone in Northern America) compared to those who are financially comfortable.
  • In countries with high income inequality, foreign-born workers are both more likely to experience violence/harassment and less likely to report it.
  • In Northern America, 66% of struggling foreign-born workers experienced violence/harassment, 37 percentage points higher than financially comfortable foreign-born workers.