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Having a history of bullying has an impact on employment outcomes

Bullying may have more of a role to play in employment outcomes than has hitherto been thought, according to recent research.

Traditionally, economists have concentrated on variables such as education, skills and experience when investigating wage and employment level outcomes. But work undertaken at Anglia Ruskin University using a sample of 7,500 people involved in the Greek Behavioural Study, has found that having a history of bullying can have economic implications in later life.

The research found that victims of bullying earned 2.1 per cent less than the average wage, were 3.3 per cent less likely to be employed and were 4.1 per cent less likely to be in employment or seeking work.

Certain groups were particularly badly affected by bullying in childhood. Immigrants who had been bullied ended up with wages 4.1 per cent below average, bullied boys went on to earn 6.1 per cent below, and lesbian and gay respondents faced wages 12.1 per cent lower than the norm.

Past bullying also had an impact on the development of human capital, with 18.5 per cent of respondents less likely to have a higher education degree or advanced IT and language skills.

One commentator noted how drastically bullying can damage confidence, which itself can have a key role in professional development. 'We live in a world of business where the confident typically get ahead while those lacking in confidence are left at a major disadvantage. Employers should feel comfortable sending staff on training course that can help re-bridge that gap.'

Acas has detailed information about Bullying and harassment, including publications giving advice for managers and employers to act against it, as well as what employees can do if they are being bullied. Acas also runs practical training courses on Bullying and harassment, Discipline and grievance and improving Skills for supervisors.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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