Political Tensions Seen in the Workplace

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, three in 10 employers and 17% of employees have argued with a co-worker over a particular candidate this election season, most often about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Management is more likely than employees to argue about candidates, with employers in information technology (47%) taking the lead, followed by those in manufacturing (37%).

Overall, 19% of employers have argued with a co-worker over Donald Trump versus 17% over Hillary Clinton. While both male and female employers say they have debated with a co-worker over Trump most (22% of men, 16% of women), men are nearly twice as likely as women to say they’ve argued with a co-worker over Clinton (21% vs. 11%, respectively).

Among employees, 13% have argued with a co-worker over Donald Trump, and 8% have argued over Hillary Clinton. Male employees (20%) reported a higher incidence of arguing politics at work than female employees (15%). Comparing age groups, younger workers (ages 18 to 24) are the most likely to report engaging in heated political debates at work, at 24%.

Workers are often urged to remain politically correct, but according to most, their workplaces are censoring them too much. Half of workers (50%) and nearly six in 10 employers (59%) believe the workplace has become too politically correct in America, and one-third of employees are afraid to voice certain opinions because they feel they may not be considered politically correct.

More than half of workers describe their workplace (55%) or management (59%) as politically correct.

And although more than one-fifth of workers (22%) say political correctness has made their business stronger, more than one-third (34%) say it has hindered business, making people tiptoe around issues and afraid to speak their minds instead of addressing the issues head on.

The nationwide survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 1,902 managers ages 18 and older (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) and 3,244 employees ages 18 and older (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between May 11 and June 7, 2016.