Survey shows workplace discrimination still a problem

By the 20 July 2022

Over the last few years, many international companies have taken steps to improve Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) among their workforces. A recent Cegos survey of 4,007 employees and 420 Human Resources directors across 7 countries – 6 European and Brazil in Latin America – found that progress has certainly been made.

However, there remains a staggering number of employees who say they have faced discrimination in the workplace. In the survey, 63% claimed to have experienced some form of discrimination, related to factors such as age, race and gender. 82% of respondents said they have witnessed discrimination in action.

Clearly, there remains much work to be done to stamp out discrimination. The survey – “Diversity and inclusion in organisations: the skills-related challenges of a cultural transformation” – reveals three significant insights into the status quo.

1- Discrimination still present in the professional arena

With so many people experiencing or witnessing discrimination at work, most agree that prejudicial acts come mainly from other colleagues and line managers. There has been some reduction of sexism and racism, although still a problem. In addition, people face discrimination based on their physical appearance and even political views. Younger people (aged 18-24) were more likely to report discrimination than people in other age groups.

Annette Chazoule, Management and Change Product Range Manager, Cegos Group, says: “The positive but still too limited impact of the movements to free speech testifies to the strength of sexist, racist and difference-related stereotypes and prejudices. Fighting discrimination today requires a much more proactive and powerful commitment from company management, particularly in terms of awareness-raising and training.”

2- Diversity and Inclusion policies need to be shared more widely

The vast majority of respondents said that they understood the meaning of ‘diversity’ (71%) and ‘inclusion’ (74%). Around half consider themselves active promoters of the concept.

However, only 40% of employees knew anything about the Diversity & Inclusion policies in their workplace. The figure dropped to 28% in France. This shows that employers need to work harder to communicate D&I policies to their workforce, so they can observe and be supported by them as intended.

The overall sentiment is that D&I policies are a positive force and work well to protect those affected. 67% say they support diversity quotas, too.

Isabelle Drouet de la Thibauderie, Human Resources Product Range Manager, Cegos Group, says: “HRDs/HRMs are still struggling to get all employees on board with a Diversity and Inclusion approach, especially the older and less educated populations. On the other hand, they can count on a solid base of allies among the younger generations and the managerial line…deployment of a Diversity and Inclusion policy has a positive impact on well-being at work and on the collective performance of organisations.”

3- Organisations should continue to evaluate and implement diversity policy

Most of the workforce favour D&I policies. It is now up to management to continually evaluate such policies in terms of their effectiveness and ensure they keep up to date with the latest diversity trends.

87% of employees say they feel ‘fully included’ in their organisation, which is indeed encouraging. 64% of HRDs/HRMs believe that such policies enable them to build more diverse and creative teams.

That said, only 44% of employees and 37% of HRDs/HRMs believe their managers are aware of diversity and inclusion issues. So, it seems, there is still more to be done.

Annette Chazoule adds: “The assessment has been made, the levers for action have been identified, the tools exist and the conditions are favourable. In particular, recruitment, awareness-raising and training are clearly identified as key levers for action, but they are not yet sufficiently exploited. Managers, who are already overstretched, have a key role to play in developing the Diversity and Inclusion policy, but it is clear that they are not yet sufficiently supported and equipped to do so.”


Diversity and Inclusion will remain a challenging issue for employers to tackle for the foreseeable future. Yet our report highlights the flaws in the system as well as some of the recent successes.

It is certainly worth reading the report in full, to see how our findings could inspire your organisation to improve its D&I policies. And these policies will improve the lives of everyone in the workforce, no matter what their character, background or appearance.

As well as highlighting these issues, Cegos is doing its part to help support companies in this regard.

Benoit Felix, Cegos Group CEO, says: “In terms of skills development, we are already deploying numerous missions directly linked to these issues, whether it be training in unconscious perception bias, inclusive leadership or the fight against harassment. We are, for example, rolling out programmes to nurture a new generation of women leaders. These are complex and time-consuming issues. But they are also, and above all, galvanising issues because they force us to change our outlook in order to imagine and build the organisation of tomorrow, which is more diverse, more inclusive and therefore more efficient and responsible.”


If you would like more information on how Cegos programs can help boost Diversity and Inclusion among your workforce, contact us today.


To download your free copy of Cegos Diversity & Inclusion survey, please fill in the following form.

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