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Marketing Sexual Harassment

‘It’s still happening’: 10% of ad industry workers have experienced sexual harassment this year


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

October 15, 2019 | 3 min read

Despite increasing awareness and measures to prevent sexual harassment, one in 10 people in the advertising industry have experienced sexual harassment in the past 12 months.


timeTo campaign, 2018/19

The research has come from Credos, the UK advertising industry think tank. It surveyed 1,114 people from 232 companies that have signed up to timeTo, an initiative launched by the Advertising Association, Nabs and Wacl to stamp out sexual harassment in the workplace.

From the survey's female respondents aged 18-24 – those at the beginning of their careers – 14% had experienced sexual harassment in the past 12 months.

Of all respondents that experienced sexual harassment, the overwhelming majority (79%) never reported the incident.

Meanwhile, 46% of the people surveyed said their company would benefit from very clear sexual harassment guidelines and policies while a third called for training on how to deal with sexual harassment.

Karen Fraser, director at Credos, said: “It’s clear that sexual harassment is still happening in our industry, as recently as in the past 12 months. Most victims are not officially reporting sexual harassment and this has to change. Our industry needs a new set of tools and resources to help put an end to sexual harassment.”

This is the first survey that will aim to track how many people in the industry experience sexual harassment and how effective the initiatives put in place are at combatting it.

The first wave of activity from timeTo focused on building awareness through a campaign called ‘Where Do You Draw The Line’, created by Lucky Generals, along with ensuring companies in the industry signed up to Code of Conduct.

This next phase will see a refreshed version of the campaign roll out over the Christmas party season in addition to a new toolkit which will be given to leadership teams and HR departments at all 232 companies that have endorsed the timeTo initiative.

Nabs has also developed a training programme to raise awareness and educate employees, which will launch in the first quarter of 2020.

“The sad truth is that sexual harassment continues in our industry and we are determined to do everything to put a stop to it,” said Diana Tickell, chief executive at Nabs.

“We need all of our endorsing companies to play their part in ensuring everyone has a safe workplace and that, in the event of sexual harassment, people feel confident to report it with the certainty that action will be taken.”

For anyone experiencing or witnessing sexual harassment and seeking confidential advice and support should contact the team at Nabs on 0800 707 6607.

Marketing Sexual Harassment

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