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Employees feel judged by age and gender

Employees are afraid they are not being taken seriously because of their age or gender

They also feel under pressure to show their dedication, according to research from wellbeing charity CABA.

The survey of 2,000 employees found that 21% are worried they are not taken seriously because of their age, with women notably more concerned than men (25% compared with 17%). Almost half (43%) of 16- to 24-year-olds feared judgement for the same reason, and one in five (19%) Londoners said they were worried that they are not taken seriously because of their gender – the highest number in the UK.

The data also highlighted how employees felt under pressure to show how dedicated they are to their employers. A third (35%) of workers said they were scared to call in sick, while 14% said they often do not take a lunch break in order to power through their workloads.

One in five (21%) reported that they were terrified to arrive late, even with legitimate reason. More than one in eight (13%) employees were even too scared to talk to colleagues.

Kelly Feehan, services director for CABA, said employers need to do more to reassure staff. “It’s clear that despite legislation and initiatives to make the workplace fair and equal some employees still feel discriminated against – because of their age, gender or how they look,” she said. “We’re in the most open and accepting era yet some people still worry they’re hampered by their sex, age, or how they choose to express themselves. Following the BBC pay gap story it’s clear there’s still a problem in the UK, and while we’re making progress more needs to be done.

“No business is going to be successful by promoting a culture of fear, and the fact 13% of employees are scared to talk is astonishing,” she added. “For employees to do their best and flourish they need to be themselves, and feel confident to express their views, sexuality or beliefs in an open and honest environment."

Feehan highlighted the fact that happy, healthy staff should naturally lead to strong productivity. “Employers need to take heed and see that making employees feel comfortable will be healthier than concentrating on their output, as this way we can address the productivity gap and start resolving these underlying fears employees hold,” she said.