Survey: Are Companies Still Reeling From #MeToo?

Published Jun 26, 2019

The response to the #MeToo movement in the workplace continues, according to a survey of 150 human resources executives conducted at companies of various sizes and industries nationwide by global outplacement and executive and business coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

In the survey, 51% of companies reported reviewing their sexual harassment policies after #MeToo, down slightly from the 52% who reported this last June. However, nearly 9% of companies reported they are working on a sexual harassment policy, up from zero who stated this one year ago.

Meanwhile, fewer companies are comfortable with their current policies. Last year, 42% of companies stated they were happy with their current policies, as compared to this year, when 37% reported the same.

“Movements that lead to real change will ultimately benefit the workplace. Companies do not want to be known for harboring sexual harassers or be labeled as a difficult or disrespectful environment,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

In fact, since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, 20% of companies reported observing a more respectful workplace, up from 14.3% who reported this in June of last year.

Despite the impact of #MeToo on policy creation at many companies, the Challenger Survey found that it has not resulted in more women being represented in leadership positions. When asked whether their organizations have seen an increase in women leaders, 57% of respondents answered in the negative, while 37% said women were already equally represented in the company’s leadership ranks. Only 5.7% of companies said more women have been visible in leadership positions.

Meanwhile, 14% reported that men are more cautious in non-work-related interactions with their female colleagues, up from 7% in June 2018.

This finding mirrors a recent survey from Lean In/SurveyMonkey, which found 36% of men avoided mentoring or socializing with women because they were nervous about how it would look.

“While companies must take steps to create and ensure a safe and respectful workplace, it seems that companies have yet to realize that diversity among leadership – by gender, by including people of color, and by including invisible diversity and those who have disabilities – will ultimately help foster that environment,” said Challenger.

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