Vast majority of female and lgbtq travelers feel unsafe during business trips

More than three in four female business travelers have suffered harassment while traveling and more than one in two change their plans because of safety concerns. Also 95% of lgbtq+ travelers have hidden their sexual orientation while on a business trip, with the most common reason being to ensure their safety (57%).

A recent survey conducted by SAP Concur in cooperation with Wakefield Research, has outlined the concerns of personal safety while on the road and frustration that some companies seem to put self-interest ahead of employee needs. Highlights of the responding 7,850 business travelers in 19 global markets include:

  • Travelers often feel unsafe. Of all respondents, 58% say they have changed their travel arrangements because they felt unsafe.
  • Millennials are more sensitive to current events. In the last 12 months, 42% of business travelers in this age range have reduced travel to a location because of political unrest or health hazards, compared to 36% of Gen X and 23% of Baby Boomers. Nearly as many of the Millennials (40%) selected a flight based on aircraft type, compared to 33% of Gen Xers and 21% of Boomers.

  • Nearly one third (31%) of business travelers prioritize their own safety as the most important factor when taking a business trip, yet over half (54%) believe safety is not their companies’ top priority.
  • Female travelers report high levels of harassment and sexism on the road. More than three in four female business travelers (77%) have experienced some sort of harassment or mistreatment while traveling. Women are asked if they’re traveling with their husband (42 %), ignored by service workers (38%), or catcalled on the job (31%).
  • Nearly half of young female business travelers face discrimination. Forty-six percent of Gen Z women report having been asked if they were traveling with their husband compared to 31% of Boomers. At the same time, 41% of female Millennials have been ignored by service workers compared to 23% of Boomers.
  • LGBTQ+ travelers hide aspects of their identity when traveling for work. The vast majority (95%) of LGBTQ+ travelers have hidden their sexual orientation while on a business trip, with the most common reasons being to ensure their safety (57%).

  • Eighty-five percent have changed their travel arrangements out of concern for their safety, compared to just 53% of their non-LGBTQ+ colleagues.
  • Business travel isn’t getting easier or less stressful. Thirty-seven percent of business travelers feel the most stress before a trip when they’re planning, booking and organizing travel.

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research between July–August 2019, among 7,850 business travelers, defined as those who travel for business three or more times annually from the following markets: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Malaysia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.

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