Research Finds Businesses May Soon Feel Financial Impacts of #MeToo in Staffing and Revenue

New Survey Results Show That Nearly Half of All Women Surveyed Are Less Likely to Apply for a Job, Buy Products or Buy Stock from a Company with Public #MeToo Allegations

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Global business advisory firm FTI Consulting (NYSE: FCN) and Washington, D.C.-based women’s leadership firm Mine The Gap have partnered to conduct research on gender dynamics in the workplace, which found that incidents of sexual harassment and misconduct still occur in professional settings in substantial numbers, and that businesses may soon feel the financial impacts of the #MeToo movement in staffing and revenue. 

In a comprehensive online survey administered over the summer of 2018, FTI Consulting and Mine The Gap polled 4,764 professional women, with an additional sample of 1,030 professional men, in the industries of technology, finance, legal, energy and healthcare to test a number of key gender issues impacting workplaces today. This report, #MeToo at Work, is the first installment of research released by FTI Consulting and Mine The Gap on gender dynamics in the workplace.

Highlighted findings from the #MeToo at Work research are as follows:

The #MeToo movement could affect companies’ financial revenue; Senior leaders are concerned about impending sexual misconduct or harassment allegations at their organization:

  • Approximately 55% of professional women surveyed are less likely to apply for a job and 49% are less likely to buy products or stock from a company with a public #MeToo allegation.
     
  • 22% of senior-level women and 20% of senior-level men are concerned there could be an impending #MeToo incident at their organization. Senior-level women in technology (33%) and energy (31%) are concerned the most, while senior-level men in technology (29%) and healthcare (19%) are the most concerned among the professional men surveyed.

Sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and unwanted physical contact in the workplace is still happening in substantial numbers; Technology and energy industries report highest percentages of sexual harassment, misconduct and/or unwanted physical contact:

  • More than 1 in 4 professional women (28%) have experienced or witnessed unwanted physical contact in the workplace in just the last year; nearly 1 in 5 have personally experienced it.
     
  • Industry breakdown: 34% of women in technology, 29% of women in energy, 27% of women in legal 26% of women in healthcare, and 25% of women in finance have experienced or witnessed unwanted physical contact at work in the last year.
     
  • Over the past five years, 38% of professional women have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or misconduct in the workplace.

Of those women who have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in the workplace in the last five years, more than 4 in 10 did not report it; More men are reporting incidents by a significant margin:   

  • Of the professional women surveyed who reported experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment, 43% did not report the behavior (57% did). Of the professional men surveyed who reported experiencing or witnessing it, 31% did not report, while 69% did — a 12% difference from women.
     
  • Top reasons for both professional women and men for not reporting are concern for negative career impact, of being viewed as “difficult” and fear of retribution, though a significant gender gap exists for these answers.  

Commenting on the research, Elizabeth Alexander, a Senior Managing Director in the Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting and a crisis communications and gender inclusion specialist, said, “From all different viewpoints and industries, the research findings are stark: #MeToo at work is still happening, and employers that fail to take meaningful action to bring about change face a high risk of irrecoverable reputational and financial consequences. The research shows that professional women will wield their purchasing power and their talent as leverage for change: nearly half of the women surveyed said they would be less likely to apply for a job, buy products or stock from a company with a public #MeToo issue. For businesses to remain viable as the #MeToo movement continues to grow, entire industries need to look inward and overhaul policies, protocols, reporting mechanisms and trainings; evaluate cultures; take steps to fix gender imbalances; develop effective and transparent communications plans; and most importantly, hold aggressors, and those in a place to stop inappropriate behavior, accountable.”

Jessica N. Grounds, Co-Founder of Mine The Gap, added, “To stay competitive, companies must understand the different experiences women and men face daily at work. #MeToo dynamics, difficult office cultures and leadership imbalance all impact the success of the key industries we surveyed. Awareness is the first step to addressing these challenges. Our hope is that these findings give the supporting data and insight that companies need to build safer, more inclusive and more productive work environments.”

As companies reflect on the year since the #MeToo movement started gaining headline attention, this research from FTI Consulting and Mine The Gap shows it is vital for organizations to understand how office cultures, and professionals alike, continue to be impacted by the movement. The data demonstrates that companies have taken notice and professionals are seeing some progress in reformed protocols and improved processes for reporting sexual misconduct, yet difficult issues and problematic workplace behaviors endure across industries.

Further analysis shows that some industry and demographic groups are more affected than others:

  • 58% of senior-level women of color have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in the last five years, while 45% of senior-level white/Caucasian women report the same.
     
  • 45% of senior-level women of color have experienced or witnessed unwanted physical contact in the last year, while 32% of senior-level white/Caucasian women report the same.
     
  • Professional women working in the fields of technology (48%) and energy (45%) were most likely to experience or witness sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in the last five years. Other industries report lower, but still startling rates: 34% of women in healthcare, 37% of women in legal, and 31% of women in finance have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in the last five years.
     
  • Nearly half (46%) of millennial women report experiencing a form of workplace sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in the last five years, compared with 30% of Generation X women. Nearly one-third (31%) of millennial women and 25% of Generation X women report receiving unwanted physical contact at work in the last year.

#MeToo is not just a women’s issue:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) professional men have personally experienced sexual harassment or misconduct in the workplace in the last five years, with men in finance (23%) and technology (23%) personally experiencing it the most.
     
  • 12% of professional men have personally experienced unwanted physical contact at work in the last year.
     
  • More than 1 in 5 (21%) professional men reported that the #MeToo movement has impacted their behavior in the workplace.

Professional women and men believe the #MeToo movement has negatively impacted their career advancement:

  • Both professional men (36%) and women (29%) believe that workplace changes due to the #MeToo movement have negatively impacted their career advancement.  
     
  • Women in technology (42%) and senior-level women (40%) believe this the most. Millennial women (35%) and men (44%) and Generation X women (23%) and men (28%) also subscribe to this sentiment.

A culture of accountability is “extremely important” to professional women:

  • Nearly half (46%) of professional women say it is “extremely important” to have an office culture that does not tolerate inappropriate language, establishes protocols for accountability and provides mandatory sexual harassment training.                                                                      

To download the full #MeToo at Work report and an accompanying infographic, please visit:  https://gender.fticommunications.com/

This report, #MeToo at Work, is the first installment of research and data-driven insights developed by FTI Consulting and Mine The Gap on gender in the workplace. The next report, Enthusiasm Gap at Work, will detail significant differences between professional women and men across five key industries and their priorities in the workplace.

Survey Methodology
In a comprehensive online survey conducted over the summer of 2018, FTI Consulting and Mine The Gap polled 4,764 professional women and 1,030 professional men in the industries of technology, finance, legal, energy and healthcare to test a number of key gender issues impacting workplaces today.

About FTI Consulting Strategic Communications
The Strategic Communications segment of FTI Consulting designs and executes communications strategies for clients managing reputational, financial, regulatory and legal challenges. We combine global reach with local and specialized knowledge to help clients seize opportunities, manage crises, mitigate risk, navigate market disruptions, articulate their brand, stake a competitive position, and preserve their permission to operate. Drawing upon our unrivaled depth of industry expertise and interdisciplinary experience, we help organizations clarify, persuade and ensure that the right message reaches the right audience at the right time.  

About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes: financial, legal, operational, political & regulatory, reputational and transactional. With more than 4,600 employees located in 28 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges and make the most of opportunities. The Company generated $1.81 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2017. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com and connect with us on Twitter (@FTIConsulting), Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Mine The Gap
Mine The Gap equips leaders and industries with the strategy and tools to create and sustain gender-inclusive work environments. We architect a strategic plan to build a gender-inclusive culture resulting in accelerated company growth, increased revenues and unlock hidden talent through awareness, training and education. Our work is underpinned by two core elements: growing an inclusive corporate culture and showing the bottom-line impact of gender inclusion. We have unparalleled expertise working on gender and women’s leadership in every region of the world in more than 120 countries, in multicultural and multiethnic environments. More information can be found at www.minethegap.co.

Media Contact:
Kim O’Halloran
FTI Consulting
+1.312.553.6733 T
kim.ohalloran@fticonsulting.com

 

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