Love is in the Air in the Workplace

February 9, 2012 ( – Thirty-eight percent of workers said they have dated a co-worker at least once over the course of their career, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.

Seventeen percent of survey respondents reported dating co-workers at least twice. Thirty-one percent said their office romance led them to the altar.

While the majority of relationships developed between workers in comparable job levels, 28% of workers who dated a co-worker said they have dated a superior in the company hierarchy, and nearly one-in-five (18%) admitted to dating their boss. Women were more likely to date someone higher-up in their organization (35%) compared to 23% of men.

Hospitality leads the top five industries for office romances, with numbers significantly higher than the national average:

•  Hospitality—47% dated a co-worker;

•  Financial Services—45%;

•  Transportation & Utilities—43%;

•  Information Technology—40%; and

•  Health Care—38%.

More than one-in-four workers (26%) 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.

While the majority of workers tended to date people in different professions or functions, nearly one-in-five workers (19%) 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%), happy hours (12%), lunches (11%) and late nights at work (10%) were among the most popular catalysts for dating co-workers.

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. 

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 7,780 U.S. workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between November 9 and December 5, 2011.