Gender Discrimination in the Workplace

We believe that the way to unlock true business prosperity is to invest in the skills and talents of an organisation’s entire community, regardless of gender.

Gender parity encompasses everything from equality in maternity/paternity leave, to progression opportunities and skills development. Equality across all of these indicators is vital to staving off workplace discrimination.

gender discrimination


This year’s headline results reveal that perceptions have not evolved substantially since Investors in People’s last report into workplace gender discrimination in 2016. There has only been a 3% reduction in the proportion of women seeing the presence of workplace inequality and a 4% drop for the perception across all workers. In two years this is a relatively nominal fall, suggesting that there is still far more to be done to achieve workplace parity.

Percentage of UK workers believe that gender discrimination in the workplace exists
Percentage of female workers believe that gender discrimination in the workplace exists
Percentage of male workers believe that gender discrimination in the workplace exists
Percentage of young workers believe that gender discrimination in the workplace exists
Percentage of UK workers have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace
Percentage of young UK workers have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace
Percentage of married people have experienced gender discrimination in the workplace

The case for change

  • According to the ONS, women earn less than men across all major occupations.
  • The current pay gap between men and women in full-time work is 9% in favour of men. Men even earn more in occupations where they are outnumbered by women.
  • Globally, the gender gap has widened this year; the first time since the World Economic Forum annual report began in 2006. The average remaining distance to gender parity is now 32%.
  • Gender parity is closer in some areas than others; it is expected that we will have equality in education by 2030.
  • The World Economic Forum estimates that it will be more than 200 years before gender parity is reached.

Work-life Balance

This year’s survey also revealed that the gender motivated discriminatory experiences of workers varied in relation to their home-life factors. For example, the experience of parents is different to that of single people with no children and the statistics reflected this. Parents with children at home were nearly 10% more likely to say that instances of gender discrimination in the workplace were overestimated.

I feel that my manager supports my career expectations:

Workers with no children
Workers with children who no longer live at home
Workers with children at home

Insight by Sector

This year’s sectoral split yielded interesting insights into the industries where gender discrimination is most potent. We looked at indicators like perceptions of pay equality and instances where discriminatory behaviour was experienced and how it was experienced. The results evidenced clear distinctions across sectors.

The sectors where workers are most likely to believe that men and women earn the same:

Information and research 
Science and Pharmaceuticals

The sectors where workers are least likely to believe that men and women earn the same

Marketing and PR
Law Enforcement

The sectors where workers were to say they had experienced gender discrimination that was not in jest

Law Enforcement

Our experts say...

“At Ricoh UK, diversity & inclusion play a hugely important role in our people strategy which runs throughout our overall organisational strategy to ensure we meet our longer-term business objectives. We operate within a traditionally male industry and, like many organisations within the technology sector, we can suffer from a lack of gender representation across certain occupational roles and at leadership levels. However, as our business transforms to continually meet our customers’ ever-changing needs, we are embracing the benefits of a gender diverse workforce: greater diversity of thought bringing greater innovation and new ideas plus increased collaboration and a more inclusive and positive culture where all individuals feel truly valued and respected. All of this results in higher levels in engagement and increased productivity, which leads to more satisfied and happier customers and more sustainable business opportunities for Ricoh. For us, gender diversity is not optional; it is essential to our long-term success.“

Rebekah Wallis Director of People & Corporate Responsibility, Ricoh