Businesses are being reminded of their duty of care obligations to female staff after research found almost a third (31.4%) have encountered sexual harassment while travelling on business.
Handbag theft is the second most frequent incident, followed by drink spiking and sexual assault, according to the Women in Business Travel Report, which was commissioned by Maiden Voyage, the resource for female business travellers from Travel Intelligence Network.
The 200-plus female business travellers who responded to the survey included company managers, directors, CEOs and owners, and came from a wide variety of industry sectors including professional services, healthcare, technology, retail, education and government.
Just under half of the respondents spend four nights or more per month away from their UK homes on business.
Maiden Voyage suggests that nearly half (47%) of women who travel, travel on business.
The research found that employers could do more to support their female staff who have to travel on business with 79.2% of respondents saying they are under-prepared to deal with the incidents they encounter.
More than three-quarters (77%) believe their company’s travel programmes should take account of their specific gender needs and 70% believe travel providers need to try harder to address those needs.
Three-quarters (75.3%) said their companies should prioritise suppliers who pay special attention to the needs of female travellers and 73.4% said their experiences of travel providers affects their policy compliance.
Carolyn Pearson, founder and CEO of Maiden Voyage, said: “We live in a risk-filled world where corporates must remain ever-mindful of their duty of care to travelling employees.
“More women are in senior corporate positions, and more are travelling on business too, often alone.
“Travel management has changed too. Personalising the traveller experience is essential to maintain the policy compliance that drives maximum value from corporates’ travel spend, so travel managers are engaging with a more diverse range of stakeholders than ever before in a bid to create travel programmes that meet the personal needs of every business traveller. But, as our report shows, there is still much work to be done.”