The fourth annual New Jersey State of Diversity survey finds women are less likely than men to feel that both genders are treated equally in the workplace.

The survey commissioned by Taft Communications and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association finds 30% of women say they have fewer opportunities than men at work. Taft Vice President Jayne O'Connor said despite progress being made and the offering of diversity and inclusion programs at more workplaces, there is still a ways to go in eliminating bias and achieving gender equity.

She said the poll results are consistent with other research that finds women are still underrepresented in executive positions and on corporate boards.

O'Connor suggested that first, employers need to survey their own employees to see if any of them feel they are being treated differently. Implementing formal diversity and inclusion programs is another step employers can take to uncover biases and to work toward a more equitable environment.

"We conduct this poll on an annual basis to help employers have the discussions with their employees and to help take affirmative action toward equitable workplaces," O'Connor said.

The survey also found that men were twice as likely as women to say mothers are treated better than everyone else in the workplace. O'Connor said there are still so many workplaces that continue to provide for maternity leave but not paternity leave. So many fathers may see that as a difference they would like addressed.

Taft has polled New Jerseyans since 2016 to gain insights into the day-to-day reality of diversity in the state, and to probe public attitudes about it. The latest poll, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University, is based on responses of 541 randomly selected working adults in the Garden State.

Seventy percent of those surveyed said in 2019, they never have heard anything that can be considered offensive to women in the workplace. That's up from 66% in 2017. O'Connor said over years there has been a continued improvement, or a decline in offensive comments in the workplace. O'Connor attributes that to companies offering tolerance programs in their workplaces.

Eighty-eight percent of all New Jerseyans say they interacted at work with someone of a different race or ethnicity in 2019 — up from a year ago. Those who interacted daily with people of different races and ethnicities outside the workplace rose to 71% from 64% a year ago and 59% in 2016.

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