World Economy

Workplace Bullying Costs UK $27b p.a.

Workplace Bullying Costs UK $27b p.a.Workplace Bullying Costs UK $27b p.a.

Workplace bullying is on the rise in Britain, with many victims afraid to speak up, resulting in large economic losses, a new study has found.

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service report said it receives around 20,000 calls relating to bullying and harassment each year, which has wide impact in lost turnover and lost productivity.

“Bullying is on the rise in Britain and it is more likely to be found in organizations that have poor workplace climates where this type of behavior can become institutionalized,” Sir Brendan Barber, chairman of ACAS, said. “Callers to our helpline have experienced some horrific incidents around bullying that have included humiliation, ostracism, verbal and physical abuse.”

He added, managers sometimes dismiss accusations around bullying as simply personality or management-style clashes whilst others may recognize the problem but lack the confidence or skills to deal with it.

Businesses should be taking workplace bullying very seriously as the annual economic impact of bullying-related absences, staff turnover and lost productivity is estimated to be almost £18 billion ($27.3 billion).

According to the research, managers seldom deal with bullies, instead preferring to simply move them around the office.

In extreme cases, some of the calls recorded showed how some victims are driven to considering suicide or causing them to self-harm. Issues raised by callers often centered on ill-treatment by direct supervisors, and frequently resulted in individuals dreading going to work, and where their home and family life had been affected.

There are also particular occupational groups or sub-sectors where the incidence is higher, including: public sector ethnic minority workers; professional and management occupations; women in traditionally male-dominated occupations; workers with disabilities or long-term health problems; and workers in health care.

The report has been timed to coincide with anti-bullying week, which runs from November 16 to 20.


Black employees are more ambitious than their white counterparts despite only half of all ethnic minority staff feeling valued, a landmark workplace study has found, The Voice online reported.

The findings of the Race at Work survey, published last Tuesday (Nov 10), revealed that 72% of black workers wanted to progress, compared with Asian (63%) and white (41%). And nearly two thirds of BAME (Black, Asian and ethnic minority) employees said they enjoyed working for their organization.

This comes despite racial harassment and bullying in the workplace reportedly being on the rise. Some 30% of employees in the UK have witnessed or experienced racial harassment in the workplace in the last year alone, an increase from previous years.

Only 29% of black employees feel they are valued members of their team, compared to 71% of white employees.