There has always been a distinct separation between people’s workplace and their personal lives. The two areas, however, can slowly converge when romance is initiated between employees. A recent survey posted by CareerBuilder asked workers about the people they would see at work – and then again later for a movie, maybe followed by dinner.
Thirty-eight percent of the employees who participated in the survey admitted to dating a co-worker at least once, while 17 percent of workers made it to at least the second date with someone from their office. Of the people seeing other employees socially, 31 percent continued the relationship all the way to “I do.”
Twenty-eight percent said that they have dated someone in a higher position in the company, with 18 percent – almost one in every five – acknowledging that this particular person was their boss. Women are more likely than men to date someone higher up, clocking in at 35 percent, while only 28 percent saw that as a viable option.
People in the hospitality industry had the highest percentage (nearly half with 47%) of respondents who were staying inside the company for prospective social partners. Employees in financial services were trailing right behind with 45 percent, followed by transportation and utilities (43%), information technology (40%) and health care (38%).
Just a little more than a quarter of the survey participants, at 26 percent, said that a person’s job plays a significant part in deciding whether or not they’d say yes to a date, and five percent said that someone had stopped a relationship due to job hours, a paycheck that’s a bit too small or the job itself.
Most people dated outside of their specific profession or function, but 19 percent went on dates with people who had similar jobs or duties. And while most employees who were dating co-workers were open about their social interactions, 37 percent preferred keeping it on the hush-hush.
Most employees claimed that the office romance was sparked by the social atmosphere. The most popular setting was simply outside of the office, with 13 percent saying that running into another employee was the incentive for dating. Workers likewise cited happy hours (12%), lunches (11%) and those pesky late nights at work (10%) as the reason for a budding romance.
“Whether you’re dating someone higher up or a colleague at the same level, office romances are always tricky,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “First and foremost, it is important to know your company’s office policy. Remember to stay professional and draw a boundary line between your personal life and the workplace.”
The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder from November 9 to December 5, 2011. The participants included 7,780 U.S. employees working full-time, not self-employed or government workers.