When Office Romance Leads to Marriage

Love is in the air and it’s wafting its way through the office. Thirty-eight percent of workers said they have dated a co-worker at least once over the course of their career; 17 percent reported dating co-workers at least twice.

Thirty-one percent said their office romance led them to the altar. This is according to CareerBuilder’s annual office romance survey of more than 7,000 U.S. workers conducted by Harris Interactive between Nov. 9 and Dec. 5, 2011. The survey results were announced today, Feb. 9.

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While the majority of relationships developed between workers in comparable job levels, 28 percent of workers who dated a co-worker said they have dated someone above them in the company hierarchy, and nearly one-in-five (18 percent) admitted to dating their boss.

Women were more likely to date someone higher up in their organization – 35 percent compared to 23 percent of men.

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The survey reveals hospitality leads the top five industries for office romances, coming in significantly higher than the national average:

  • Hospitality – 47 percent dated a co-worker
  • Financial Services – 45 percent
  • Transportation & Utilities – 43 percent
  • Information Technology – 40 percent
  • Healthcare – 38 percent

More than one-in-four workers (26 percent) reported that what someone does for a living influences whether they would date that person. Five percent of workers said someone broke up with them because either their job required too many hours at the office, they didn’t make enough money or the person didn’t like their line of work.

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While the majority of workers tended to date people in different professions or functions, nearly one-in-five workers (19 percent) reported that they are more attracted to people who have a similar job.

Social settings outside of the office were cited most often in regard to workers connecting on a romantic level. Running into each other outside of work (13 percent), happy hours (12 percent), lunches (11 percent) and late nights at work (10 percent) were among the most popular catalysts for dating co-workers.

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Most workers who have had office romances said they were open about their dating situation.  Thirty-seven percent reported they had to keep the relationship under wraps.

“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 dating policy.  Remember to stay professional and draw a boundary line between your personal life and the workplace.”

Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia.

Photo courtesy: CareerBuilder

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Rakesh Raman