21 Jun 2019

Workplace bullying or discrimination felt by one in 10

6:27 pm on 21 June 2019

Nearly one in 10 workers say they feel discriminated against, harassed or bullied at work, according to a Stats NZ survey.

Stressed worker (generic file picture).

Photo: 123RF

A new survey from Stats NZ showed about 300,000 people reported they had experienced some kind of bullying in the past 12 months.

The work-life survey conducted between October and December 2018 asked employees about their conditions, satisfaction and work life balance.

The study found women across all ethnicities were more likely to experience discrimination, harassment, or bullying at work - with 14 percent reporting such treatment compared with 11 percent of men overall.

The 45-to-54 age bracket was also at great risk.

Stats NZ's labour market statistics manager Scott Ussher said: "The discrimination, harassment, or bullying at work could be by anyone - from co-workers or managers to the general public."

Women who worked as machinery operators and drivers had the highest reported levels of such treatment at 20 percent.

The only occupation group where men reported a higher rate of bullying was in the community and personal service worker sector, which included defence force personnel, firefighters, police, and prison and security officers.

However, Stats NZ said it was not possible to say whether men in those professions experienced higher levels of bullying than their female co-workers because there was no data breakdown for different jobs.

The rate of reported discrimination, harassment, or bullying varied by job conditions.

For instance, men who worked night shifts reported such treatment nearly twice as much as men who worked days.

The report also said union members experienced significantly more bullying than non-members.

However, the same survey also showed three-quarters of New Zealanders were satisfied with their work life balance.

Seventy-six percent of those surveyed were satisfied with that balance - and the statistics only differed slightly between men and women.

"Not surprisingly, the more hours people work, the less satisfied they are with their work-life balance," Mr Ussher said.

Job satisfaction did not correlate closely to the amount of time spent working.

"Work-life balance satisfaction is different to job satisfaction, which is about the feeling of enjoyment or fulfilment someone derives from their job," Mr Ussher said.

"People can really enjoy their job but still acknowledge that more time spent at work can negatively affect their life outside it."

Workplace stress, tiredness, poor relationships and a lack of flexible hours also reduced how good people felt about the balance.

One in five, or 22 percent of employees, said they always or often felt stress from work and 15 percent reported always being too tired to enjoy life outside it.

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