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2023 Workplace Equality Report

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The majority of workers in Ireland (38%) say that bullying in the workplace is an issue, our 2023 Workplace Equality Survey has found.

The 2023 Workplace Equality Survey found that almost three in four workers have witnessed or been the victim of bullying at work. Of those, 39% said they were bullied directly.

Now in its sixth year, the survey of more than 1,400 adults covers a wide range of workplace issues including workplace bullying, discrimination, and racism.


In terms of the types of bullying or harassment that was reported, almost half (45%) said it involved openly harsh criticism in front of work colleagues and a third said it involved being blamed for something without justification. Other forms identified by respondents were:

  • Disparaging remarks made about appearance, race, sexual orientation, and/or gender (29%)

  • Extra work piled on to create stress (27%)

  • Exclusion from work gatherings (25%)

  • Verbal abuse including profane, threatening or disrespectful language (23%)

Of those who witnessed or were the victim of bullying, more than half (56%) said that the bullying took place in a physical workplace setting; while one in five experienced bullying in a virtual work setting.

Asked if they had ever reported discrimination, bullying or harassment at work, over half (59%) of respondents said they had. Of those, a third of respondents (32%) felt that the issue was not dealt with promptly, seriously, and discreetly enough by their workplace.

In Ireland, employers have a legal duty to protect their staff from harm, including the threat of bullying in the workplace. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act leaves no room for ambiguity: employers must take proactive steps to prevent bullying, maintain an anti-bullying policy, and foster a culture of respect within the workplace.

Ensuring the safety and well-being of employees should not just be a legal obligation, it should be a moral imperative too. The workplace must be a sanctuary of safety for staff, where every voice is valued and every concern is addressed promptly, discreetly and with the utmost seriousness.


Our 2023 Workplace Equality Survey also found that almost two thirds of employees in Ireland (63%) believe racism is a problem in the workforce in Ireland. On top of this, nearly half of workers in Ireland (46%) perceive that ethnic minorities have fewer promotional opportunities than their colleagues.

The majority of respondents (80%) said their employer advocates for diversity, equality and inclusion in their workplace and most respondents (89%) believe that employers have a responsibility to their staff to offer training on issues relating to equality and discrimination. However, there is a slight disparity between intention and execution, with 63% of Irish workers reporting to have had training in this area.

Acknowledging the existence of racism in workplaces is the first step towards nurturing true inclusivity. However, the survey results also highlight a need to bridge the gap between intent and action. Our responsibility to combat discrimination doesn't end at company policies; it's a commitment that must translate into comprehensive training. Only when every individual is equipped with the tools to promote equality can we truly reshape the landscape of Irish workplaces.

About the survey

The sixth Matrix Workplace Equality Survey was conducted online in July 2023 among 1,419 adults working across a broad range of industries, sectors and regions.

About Matrix Recruitment:

Marking 25 years in business, Matrix Recruitment is a leading regional recruitment firm with national leverage. Established in 1998 and with offices in Waterford, Carlow and Athlone, Matrix specialises in multiple job categories including accountancy, financial services, engineering, manufacturing, quality & laboratory, supply chain, HR, office support, IT and sales & marketing. Temporary and permanent roles are available now on