A recent survey by the Australia Human Rights Commission has found that one in three respondents have been sexually harassed at work.
The fourth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces was revealed by the HRC and the data found that sexual harassment is widespread and has increased since the last survey six years ago.
Sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins said that the survey found that millions were affected in Australian workplaces over the last five years.
“One in three people (33%) surveyed told us they have been sexually harassed at work in the last five years,” she said.
Commissioner Jenkins said the figures were unacceptable and that sexual harassment had a huge impact on workplaces in Australia.
“Unwelcome sexual conduct on this scale in the workplace not only causes distress to workers and colleagues, it impacts workplace productivity and impedes career progression, which has an economic impact on businesses and families,” Commissioner Jenkins said.
The financial and insurance services industry found that the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment in the past five years was at 39 per cent, 6 percentage points higher than the national rate (33 per cent).
This score puts the financial services industry on the same level as the accommodation and food industry and the education and training industry.
Despite being above the national average, the industry was well below the 81 per cent of prevalence found in the media and telecommunications industry and the 49 per cent in the arts and recreation industry.
Commissioner Jenkins urged industries to examine the results and review their sexual harassment initiatives.
“I genuinely believe there is a desire for change and an unprecedented appetite for solutions. Our goal must be to ensure all Australians work in an environment that is safe, productive and free from sexual harassment,” Commissioner Jenkins said.