A new study, commissioned by Peoplesafe, has revealed that the majority of people who work in the professional services sector fear for their safety on a daily basis.
- 71% worry about personal safety when working late
- 75% worry about personal safety when travelling for business
- 69% worry about personal safety on their commute
- 1 in 4 feel unsafe travelling home after working late. Rises to 1 in 3 for women
- 24% said they would leave a role due to personal safety concerns
The Professional Services sector employs 21.4% of workers in the UK, the highest percentage within any single occupation. They include lawyers, architects, accountants, financial advisers, engineers, and consultants, among others.
While these largely office-based, or hybrid, workers may not be necessarily regarded high-risk, many of them work alone, outside of traditional office hours, or travel regularly. Such is the culture of the sector, working late is often expected and/or unavoidable where there are tight deadlines to be met.
According to the Peoplesafe survey, 78% in the Professional Services sector work late at least occasionally and 30% work late at least once a week. Yet these new figures show that 50% of women feel discouraged from doing so due to personal safety fears, compared to 42% of men.
The research also suggests that these fears are not unfounded. 44% of people employed in the sector reported incidents in the last year that made them fear for their safety and 1 in 4 employees reported incidents directly involving violent or threatening behaviour.
Of the incidents reported:
- 26% worried it might happen again
- 20% subsequently suffered with anxiety
- 15% considered changing jobs
- 14% took time off work
- 12% were annoyed their employer didn’t take it seriously
- 24% changed or are considering changing jobs/roles
The survey found that negative incidents impact productivity and have implications on business practices, where new changes must be found and implemented quickly. For 1 in 4 employees, incidents affected their productivity and wellbeing and where they occurred, 71% of employers had to implement new, costly changes.
Suky Bhaker, CEO at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust says: “These latest stats demonstrate that the safety threat to professional services workers continues to be underestimated. Employees, for whom anti-social hours and frequent travel are part of the job description, should not have to work in fear for their safety and we support any research that highlights this issue.
Thirty-seven years after the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh on, what was for her, just an ordinary day at work, we continue to campaign for a society in which people are safer – and feel safer – from violence and aggression.”
Naz Dossa, Chief Executive of Peoplesafe commented: “Professional Service companies are failing their people and the stats strongly suggest they will pay a high price in productivity and lost talent if they don’t wake up and turn their attention to employee safety. It is clear that they are not delivering the basics to keep their people safe.
To download the full Peoplesafe Professional Services Safety Fears Report, click here
Technology can help the Professional Services employer fulfil their duty of care and the leading organisations in the space are already embracing technology to overcome this issue.
When asked by Peoplesafe if they would use a personal safety app if offered it, seven out of ten professional services employees said that they would. 75% of women said yes, compared to 66% of men.
For more information about Peoplesafe worker safety technology visit www.peoplesafe.co.uk