Thirty-Eight Percent of Workers Have Dated a Coworker

HR & Safety

Leisure & Hospitality most romantic industry

CareerBuilder’s annual survey on office romance found nearly two in five (38%) U.S. workers have dated someone who worked for the same company, and 16% said they have done so more than once.

The national survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from Nov. 6 to Dec. 2, 2013, and included a representative sample of 3,0m 08 full-time, private sector workers across industries and company sizes.

Love and Marriage

That budding office romance may even lead all the way to the altar, or possibly divorce court. Of those who dated someone from the office, nearly one-third (31%) ended up marrying their office sweetheart. Twenty percent of workers who dated someone at the office admitted that at least one person in the relationship was married at the time.

Dating Up

One quarter (24%) of workers who have dated a coworker said their office sweetheart was higher up in the organization, including the boss. However, only 3% of workers who have had an office relationship said the relationship helped them progress in their career.

Most Romantic Industries

Some industries have more office romances than others, with Leisure and Hospitality topping the list (57%), followed by Utilities (51%), Information Technology (46%), and Transportation (42%): all of which outpace the national average. Other industries where romances are blossoming include Financial Services (38%), Retail (35%), Manufacturing (35%), Healthcare (32%), and Business Services (26%).

We’ll Always Have the Lunchroom

Office romances most often start with coworkers running into each other outside of work (12%) or at a happy hour (11%). Some other situations that led to romance include late nights at work (10%), having lunch together (10%), and love at first sight (9%).

Our Little Secret

While most workers were open about their dating situation, nearly two in five (39%) said they had to keep their relationship with a coworker a secret. Twenty-six percent of respondents who have dated someone at work said they accidentally ran into coworkers while out socially with their office sweetheart. Of these workers, 43% pretended that they weren’t dating their coworker.

Tips for Navigating a Workplace Romance

  • Check the company handbook. Some companies have strict policies around office romances. Acquaint yourself with the rules before turning a professional relationship into a personal one.
  • Proceed with caution. Some romances lead into marriage, but others can lead into disaster. Seven percent of workers who have dated a coworker reported having to leave their jobs because of their office romance soured. Take the time to get to know someone first and carefully weigh risks and benefits.
  • Compartmentalize. Keep your work life separate from your home life. Avoid showing PDA in the office, and don’t involve coworkers in personal disagreements.
  • Think before you post. Be careful what you post on social media. You can end up outing your relationship before you’re ready to discuss it.

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