Do Americans Have a Love Affair with Office Romance?

by Staff - Original publish date: February 20, 2013

Is Love in the Office Air?

Whether it's Jim and Pam on The Office or a real life saga such as former President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky, America has a certain fondness (or at least a mild obsession with) the notion of an office romance. And seeing how Cupid is reaching into his quiver as Valentine's Day quickly approaches, we thought it'd be a good idea to ask you -- our readers -- about workplace flings.

More than 2,600 of you responded to our survey and opened up your hearts to share your views regarding office dalliances that can't be contained by cubicle walls.

Do You or Don't You?

Like a carnal office romance, we'll get right to the good stuff.

Right now, at this very moment, almost 5% of you claim to be involved in a romantic relationship with a coworker. But jumping into a fling with a boss, manager or supervisor is much more rare, as less than 1% reported currently having this arrangement.

Have You Ever?

Just because you're not doing it now doesn't mean you've always been a spectator.

Nearly half -- 47% of people who took our survey -- said they have engaged in an office romance at some point during their careers. Furthermore, 44% said they're aware of at least one office romance currently occurring at their place of work.

Men or Women?

So now that we know almost half of Americans dip their toes in the office dating pool, let's find out if men or women are more likely to engage in an workplace tryst.

Slightly more women than men (47% to 46%) have engaged in office romances in the past, and more women than men (5% to 4%) are currently romantically involved with coworkers. Single women are the most likely to engage in office romance with 51% reporting they've done so in the past, compared to just 40% of single men. But when asked if they'd like to get with a coworker, single men leaped to the front of the pack with 24% hoping to kindle the flickering flame of romance from 9 to 5. That's compared to 10% of single women.

Overall, 6% of married men and women want to start a workplace fling.

The Industry Breakdown

Ever wonder which industry has the most -- shall we say -- amorous workers when it comes to those currently dating coworkers? Here's your list:

  • Arts/Media/Entertainment: 10%
  • Government: 8%
  • Retail: 8%
  • Hospitality/Tourism/Recreation: 7%
  • Manufacturing: 7%
  • Energy & Utilities: 5%
  • Professional Services: 5%
  • Engineering/Design/Construction: 4%
  • Finance & Banking: 4%
  • Information Technology: 3%
  • Health care: 3%
  • Other: 3%
  • Education: 2%
  • Agriculture: <1%

Age Matters

Someone once said "love is for the young." Well, at least we think someone said that. If they didn't, we're saying it now because according to our survey, it's true.

According to our survey results, the younger you are the more likely you'll engage in a romantic relationship with a coworker. And as you age, that inclination goes away (or gets repressed). Eight percent of people ages 18-25 are currently dating a coworker, followed by 7% of people ages 26-32, 6% of people 33-39, 4% of those 40-50, 2% of people between 51-60 and 2% of those 60 and above.

Consequences & Repercussions

When you're talking about office romance, a lot of the time you're talking about forbidden love. And when you decide to eat the forbidden fruit, you're dealing with potentially ugly ramifications.

First of all, what you think is flirting might be misunderstood by the person on the receiving end of your affectations. Perhaps that's why 31% of those surveyed said they have been the subject of unwanted sexual advances in the office. This was most prevalent in women, as 41% of female respondents claimed to be affected by this. But it's worth noting that 17% of men said they've been subject to unwanted advances as well.

Also, 4% of people have been fired or had to resign from a job specifically because of an office romance gone bad. So before you give in to temptation, think about how you're tempting fate by risking life without a paycheck if your love affair turns into a career-ender.

Broken Hearts? No. Bigger Paychecks? Yes. can't heal your broken heart or smooth things over with HR when your office tryst goes nuclear. But we can help you get back on your feet when it comes to getting what you're worth professionally.

Use our free Salary Wizard to search for your job title, so when you come to the negotiating table you'll be armed with the information you need to be compensated fairly.

Good luck!