Job Seekers Weigh In on Harassment, Bullying

New research finds job seekers place a high value on how companies deal with harassment and bullying.
By: | July 10, 2018 • 3 min read

Job seekers aren’t just looking to work for employers that offer flexible work options and unlimited paid time off, according to new research.

In its first-ever Harassment and Bullying Report, Jobvite partnered with Zogby Analytics to survey over 1,500 currently employed job seekers about sexual harassment and bullying at work. The study examines frequency, reporting, retaliation—and also how these behaviors impact a person’s decision to apply for a company or leave his or her current one. The data provide important insights about what truly matters for employees today—and how companies must adjust to build safe and engaging workplaces.

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Job Seekers Won’t Stand for Harassment

For those job seekers who have dealt with a harassment issue at work, 82 percent report their company is taking action in the situation—and 90 percent of those believe the company did so appropriately. Meanwhile, just 15 percent of job seekers report that their companies have changed their policies or made statements surrounding sexual harassment in light of recent movements. For those job seekers whose companies haven’t made changes, 13 percent would be more likely to leave the company because of it.

For workers who have felt/feel threatened by bullying or sexual harassment in their current workplace:

  • 68 percent would at least think about leaving;
  • 66 percent would actively pursue a new job; and
  • 48 percent would leave the company without another job lined up.

Bad Behavior Drives Potential Employees Away

The study finds that almost half (48 percent) of job seekers would be discouraged from applying to a company if they heard about a sexual-harassment incident that occurred there, and women in particular would be less inclined to join (women: 57 percent versus men: 43 percent).

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Sixty-three percent of the respondents said they consider it important to know about the sexual-harassment policy of a company they are considering joining.

Bullying: A More Pervasive Problem

During the past two years, 14 percent of American workers were bullied at work, most often by managers (57 percent), peers (33 percent) and senior leadership (32 percent)—especially younger workers (19 percent) versus older workers (9 percent).

In theory, victims of bullying say they feel slightly more comfortable reporting the issue—77 percent of them would feel at least somewhat comfortable going to HR about it—compared to 73 percent of victims of sexual harassment.

To learn more about how harassment and bullying at work impacts the employee and candidate experience, download the special report.

Web Editor Michael J. O’Brien has been with HRE for more than a decade and holds a degree in economics from Boston College. He can be reached at [email protected]