People Are Most Likely to Be Sexually Harassed in This Job More Than Any Other

With the recent flood of celebrity sexual harassment allegations in the media, the subject is in the spotlight. Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace has been going on for a very long time. Although alleged victims have pointed their fingers at famous figures, it’s important to know that this kind of behavior happens almost every day in every industry.
Exposing the well-known figures that do it and speaking out about them is the first step to stopping it. Employers providing comprehensive education and training programs to combat the problem is the second.
Read on to find out what industries have the highest number of sexual harassment claims — and learn what industry has the fewest. The Center for American Progress gathered and analyzed data on sexual harassment claims that people filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 2005 and 2015, according to The Washington Post — and here’s what it came up with.

7. Arts, entertainment, recreation

Harvey Weinstein
The entertainment industry is still reeling from the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, working in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry includes producing or participating in performances, events, and exhibits; preserving and showing historical sites for cultural or educational interest; and dealing with amusement, hobby, and leisure-time interests. The field accounted for only 1.61% of the study’s complaints, but as more entertainment-related cases come to light that number might rise.
Next: Going public

6. Public administration

businesswoman at computer
These jobs focus on managing public agencies. | Antonio Guillem/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Complaints in the field of public administration accounted for 6.48% of all claims in the Center for American Progress data. Focusing on forming and managing public agencies, those in the industry take on issues such as public resources, criminal justice management, climate change, HIV/AIDS epidemic, terrorism, and more. Although more women are going into the field, it has been male-dominated for a long time, which might account for its No. 6 position.
Next: A strange group

5. Administrative support, waste management, and remediation

a black and white photo of a businessman with a secretary at a desk
Women predominately hold secretary roles. | George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images

This rather odd grouping accounted for 6.92% of sexual harassment complaints. Women predominately hold administrative support roles, which people typically view as “secretary” roles — so that might account for the issues in that arena. Think “1940s secretary” and her boss patting her on the fanny — perhaps times haven’t changed all that much. Waste management and remediation are other traditionally male-dominated industries, which might account for their high numbers of harassment complaints.
Next: Health care might be unhealthy

4. Health care and social assistance

a female nurse in blue scrubs from the neck down, with a stethoscope around her neck, holding a piece of paper and a pen
Individualized work settings could isolate workers, making them vulnerable. | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The health care and social assistance industry complaints came in at 11.48%. This industry can include a wide array of jobs, including medical assistant, registered nurse, home health aid, and child care worker.
Once again, this is a field that largely attracts women, and many of its jobs don’t pay very well. Home care workers are particularly at risk because they often work in settings that are individualized, which could isolate them and make them more vulnerable to sexual harassment.
Next: Manufacturing complaints?

3. Manufacturing

worker in manufacturing plant
Women only hold about 30% of the jobs in the industry. | Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The manufacturing industry experienced the third highest share of claims — 11.72%, to be exact. What’s different about manufacturing than some of the other industries on this list is that it has a much smaller percentage of women in the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprise only 30% of the workers in the industry. Because men have traditionally dominated manufacturing jobs — machinist and fabricator, for instance — perhaps women get harassed in this industry so much because the men see them as outsiders.
Next: What is with service industries?

2. Retail

Sale sign in clothing store
The retail industry had the second highest number of complaints. | mazzzur/iStock/Getty Images

The second largest number of sexual harassment complaints — 13.44% — came from the retail industry. This industry can include a wide range of businesses, such as department stores, drug stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and office supply stores. Like the No. 1 industry on the list, women dominate the retail world, working as sales clerks and cashiers — and typically not making a ton of money. Looks like the service sector needs to do some serious work to prevent sexual harassment.
NextThe industry where sexual harassment complaints are the highest.

1. Accommodation and food service industries

Waitress bringing coffees
Women, who filed most of the complaints, dominate the service industry. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

The largest number of complaints in the study came from women — to the tune of 80%. And 14.23% of all those complaints came from workers in the accommodation and food service industries.
Because the industry is dominated by low-wage, female employees, perhaps this happens so much because these workers are viewed as dispensable — and they either feel that no one will believe their claims or that they’ll be fired for saying something. Or, maybe it’s because people expect in the service industry to “please” customers. Regardless, it’s a situation that management must monitor more carefully.
Next: The industry with the fewest complaints


Coal miner's equipment
The industry had the fewest complaints. | Andrew Burton/Getty Images

You’ve read about the worst industries for sexual harassment, now check out the one that has the very fewest complaints: mining accounted for only 0.16% of the sexual harassment claims. This field, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, involves the “search for, extraction, beneficiation, and processing of naturally occurring solid minerals from the earth.” As you might guess, this is another male-dominated industry. Perhaps they don’t enjoy harassing each other — or, there simply aren’t enough women to harass.
Read more: Sexual Harassment at Work – Here’s What to Do If You’ve Been Harassed
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!