The Landscape for Women in the Workplace

A new report sheds light on the No. 1 issue women in the workplace say they face.
By: | August 20, 2018 • 3 min read
Woman works at her desk in a dark room. The concept of gender intolerance and prejudice

A new survey of more than 700 female professionals across a variety of industries shed light on the impact of sexual harassment and gender bias on women in the workplace.

According to the Korn Ferry research, 45 percent of respondents said they had been sexually or verbally harassed at work. Despite that figure, only 7 percent of women said sexual harassment was the biggest issue facing women in the workplace. Instead, 42 percent cited the gender pay gap. Respondents were asked to compare their salaries to those of men in similar roles, and just 1 percent of the women surveyed said they make more than their male counterparts; 42 percent responded that they make 10 to 20 percent less.

When it came to other issues in the workplace, about 26 percent of women said gender discrimination is a primary obstacle, and 25 percent pointed to the so-called “glass ceiling.”


About 40 percent of participants believed they had been passed over for a promotion or other opportunity at work because of their sex. Among the challenges facing women in leadership positions in the workplace, respondents said, being treated equally was chief, followed by garnering respect from peers.

In a blog post about the new report, Kristin Mannion, Korn Ferry vice chair in the Board and CEO Services practice, noted that inequality is often subtle in many organizations—such as at those that ask women to take on additional duties without an elevation in pay or title. Such structures feed into gender stereotypes, Mannion said.