Survey: Men in workplace uncomfortable ‘mentoring, working alone, or socializing' with women

Amid the #MeToo era, and SurveyMonkey partnered to conduct online polls over the last two years about men and women's experiences in the workplace, and found that men are generally pulling back from women at work, according to the survey's key findings.

The online poll, conducted this year, found that 60 percent of managers who are men are uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman, "such as mentoring, working alone, or socializing together."

The results mark a 32 percent increase from a year ago.

"Now more than ever, we need men to support women-not overlook or avoid them. When women have the same opportunities to succeed and lead as men, it makes the workplace safer and fairer for everyone," the survey pointed out.

Senior-level men are now "far more hesitant" to spend time with junior woman than junior men across a range of basic work activities. They are 12 times more likely to hesitate to have one-on-one meetings, nine times more likely to hesitate to travel together for work and six times more likely to hesitate to have work dinners, the results showed.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of men say they have avoided mentoring or socializing with a woman "because they were nervous about how it would look," the survey findings said.

Regarding sexual harassment, the key findings said it still remains pervasive in the workplace and that there are dramatic differences in women's and men's views on the frequency and consequences of sexual harassment.

The survey's results found that 57 percent of women reported that they've experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace, "from hearing sexist jokes to being touched in an inappropriate way," while 24 percent of women said harassment is on the rise.

By comparison, 27 percent of men said that harassment is decreasing, while 50 percent of men said that the consequences are more damaging to the careers of harassers, not victims, according to the survey's findings. But women tend to disagree, with 64 percent saying it's the victims who end up paying a heavier price.

Regarding company accountability, employees said their companies are trying to prevent sexual harassment, but they don't think it's enough, according to the findings.

Seventy percent of employees now report that their company has taken action to address sexual harassment, the survey found. That's a significant increase from only 46 percent in 2018, while more than three-quarters of employees believe their company would thoroughly investigate a claim of sexual harassment.

Still, however, half of employees said that punishments are not harsh enough, while 3 in 10 employees think that high performers are never or rarely held accountable when they harass someone, according to the key findings.

"Not harassing is not enough. We need men to support women's careers. That's how we'll achieve a workplace that is truly equal for all," LeanIn Founder Sheryl Sandberg and P&G's Marc Pritchard said.