A new survey has found about a third of people working in public administration report being victims of sexual harassment at work.

The rate matches that of the general workforce, and is well below the media, retail trade and mining industries.

But there are some differences in the reported nature of sexual harassment in the public sector.

In the broader workforce, women are more likely to report experiencing sexual harassment than men, but in public administration 33 per cent of both men and women reported experiencing sexual harassment.

Workers in public administration and safety also said their workplace sexual harassment was witnessed by someone else at a higher rate than reported overall.

The survey found 46 per cent of sexual harassment in the public sector was witnessed by someone else, compared to about 40 per cent in the general workforce.

The Australian Human Rights Commission's fourth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces found sexually suggestive jokes or comments made up 31 per cent of harassment incidents.

Intrusive questions about someone's private life or physical appearance accounted for 18 per cent of incidents.

“[The survey] confirms that sexual harassment is widespread and pervasive. An extraordinary number, one in three people, have experienced sexual harassment at work in the last five years. This is a marked increase in the prevalence rate recorded by previous surveys,” Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said in her introduction to the report.

“We cannot be certain if this is due to an increase in sexually harassing behaviours, or to greater awareness of the types of behaviours that constitute sexual harassment, or to other factors,” she said.