Workplace romances at a 10-year high, survey shows

Forty-one percent of employees admit to dating a coworker

Posted February 13, 2017

Romantic relationships amongst co-workers may be more common than you think — and the numbers may be on the rise.

According to CareerBuilder’s annual Valentine’s Day survey, 41 percent of workers have dated a co-worker (up from 37 percent last year and the highest since 2007). Additionally, 30 percent of these office romances have led to marriage, on par with last year’s findings.

Office romances are just not happening between peers: Of those who have had an office romance, more than 1 in 5 (29 percent, up from 23 percent last year) have dated someone in a higher position than them — a more common occurrence for women than men (33 percent versus 25 percent). Fifteen percent of workers who have had an office romance say they have dated someone who was their boss.

And as if dating a superior weren’t risky enough, 19 percent of office romances involved at least one person who was married at the time.

Avoiding office gossip

Keeping your relationship out of work is hard work. Nearly two in five workers who have had an office romance (38 percent) had to keep the relationship a secret at work. Male workers were just as likely to keep their office romances secret (40 percent) compared to their female counterparts (37 percent). By region, of those who have had office romances, 45 percent of workers in the Northeast say they kept their office relationships secret compared to 41 percent in the South, 34 percent in the West, and 31 percent in the Midwest.

Lust, love, and heartbreak

About 1 in 5 employees (21 percent) say what someone does for a living influences whether they would date that person (18 percent of men and 24 percent of women). Seven percent say they currently work with someone they would like to date this year.

Unfortunately, not all workplace relationships end happily ever after — and some result in more than heartbreak: 5 percent of workers who have had an office romance say they have left a job because of an office relationship gone sour.

Survey methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,411 employees ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between November 16 and December 6, 2016. Percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions. With a pure probability sample of 3,411, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.68 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.


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