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The danger of stereotyping

Have you ever been stereotyped? Can you think of a time when someone made an assumption about you purely based on your ethnicity, the way you look or how you dress?

Stereotypes are often a negative way of thinking and contribute to unfair assumptions and prejudices held against different communities.

Stereotyping can be especially damaging within the workplace, as certain assumptions may lead to employees not accessing the right support, learning or career development they need.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most common stereotypes – and debunk them:

Mothers struggle at work more than fathers… right?

Here’s a question for you: Out of all parental roles, whose workplace learning do you think suffered more during the pandemic due to juggling childcare, home-schooling, and employment?

The common assumption is that mothers and female carers struggled the most.

In reality, both women (24%) and men (20%) struggled to find time to learn due to home demands such as childcare and home-schooling.

This suggests that no matter your gender identity or role in parenthood, every parent and carer found it challenging to prioritise workplace learning over the past year, negatively impacting their own career progression.

Top tip: Check in with all your parents and carers. Regardless of gender, make sure you have policies in place for those with dependents, rather than assuming that mums are bearing the brunt of it all.

Over 55s struggle with technology and don’t like online learning… or so you thought!

With the pandemic pushing many former office jobs to digital or online, people over the age of 55 were seemingly about to become ‘digitally marginalised’ with everyday life becoming hyper tech-focused.

Most commonly, over 55s are ‘fearful’ of not being ‘tech-savvy’, but for some, they simply don’t have access to the internet or the capability to learn how to use certain types of technology.

However, in our latest Learner Survey report, the over 55s cited fewer issues with technology barriers than the younger generations in the workplace, and the number of people who prefer online learning is actually higher among 35-44 year olds (61%) than younger generations.

Top tip: Don’t make assumptions about people’s relationships with technology based on their age. There are social and economic factors that also impact access to technology and space to learn – a Boomer is more likely to have a home office to learn in, while a Gen Z may well be in a house share or their parents’ home, where they might not have the tools they need to utilise digital learning.

Gen Z will have no problem with eLearning… or will they?

Gen Z, or the digital natives as most commonly known, are as familiar with technology as fish are to water.

Growing up with computers in primary school, learning how to code a website from a young age and having social media profiles in their pre-pubescent years, it’s no wonder everyone expects them to just get online learning.

Despite their quick technological mindset, a whopping 41% of 18-24 year olds think some things can’t be learnt online.

It’s critical to remember that this generation are only just starting their careers and will have the least amount of exposure to eLearning in the workplace.

Top tip: Acknowledge Gen Z’s lack of understanding around eLearning and introduce them to the power of eLearning and what online learning can help them achieve.

Want more key L&D insights, content, and statistics?

We recently surveyed over 1,000 UK workers to see how the pandemic impacted their workplace learning and to find out what they really want from their employers.

With the help of this report, you’ll discover:
– Emerging trends for eLearning
– How to keep hold of your employees
– New learning methods and tools
– How employees want to progress their career

Download the free Learner Survey 2022 report today!

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Written by Mara Swann

Mara has a passion for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion across global workplaces and hopes to inspire learners to focus on their own careers with self-directed learning content.


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