Young employees, in particular, reported to having detected different forms of discrimination at the workplace, especially that related to religion ethnic background and part-time status. (Lehtikuva)


MEN detect workplace discrimination more often than women, suggests a survey commissioned by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

The employer organisation reported yesterday that male respondents to the survey detected significantly more discrimination based on age, health, political views, ethnic background or sexual orientation at their workplace than women.

“It is surprising that men detect discrimination clearly more than women. The differences are surprisingly large. This brings up questions,” commented Mikael Pentikäinen, the CEO of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

Age-based discrimination, the survey found, is the most common form of workplace discrimination in the country, with 16 per cent of respondents reporting they have detected it. The only forms of discrimination that were detected equally by men and women were discrimination based on the gender (11%) and part-time status (12%) of employees.

“These tell that everything is not right at workplaces. The issue must be tackled,” said Pentikäinen.

The survey also found a divide between the responses based on the workplace, with the employees of associations detecting more discrimination than those of businesses or local or central administrations. Young employees were more likely to detect discrimination than their older colleagues, especially when it comes to discrimination based on religion, ethnic background and part-time status.

The results stand in contrast to previous studies.

Shadia Rask, a research manager at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), told Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday that the most common forms of discrimination were systematically detected better by women than men in a survey of working conditions conducted in 2018 by Statistics Finland.

Women had also more first-hand experience of discrimination than men.

“Discrimination is a challenging research topic,” she reminded in an e-mail to the daily newspaper. “Interpretations of what discrimination is in various situations or what it is based on can vary between respondents and time periods.”

Statistics Finland’s survey found that 39 per cent of all wage earners had detected at least one form of workplace discrimination in 2018. Rask pointed out that the survey also included discrimination based on disability, language and family relations, which were not included in the survey commissioned by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

The results of the more recent survey, she viewed, nevertheless give rise to a number of questions.

Roughly 1,060 people in working life responded to the survey conducted by Kantar TNS at the turn of December and January.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT