Apparently, sex with the boss can still help a woman get ahead. But companies and the individuals involved pay a high price, according to new research.

Some 15 per cent of executive women surveyed by the New York-based Center for Work-Life Policy admit to having an affair with a superior.

And 37 per cent of the women believe such liaisons pay off in the form of promotions and other perks, the study also found.

The question was asked as part of a wider study that looks at the role a boss can play in promoting a woman’s career by recommending her for key assignments.

The non-profit think-tank conducts research and works with employers to develop policies that promote work-life balance.

The full study isn’t due out until later this fall, but centre president Sylvia Ann Hewlett leaked selected findings in her blog this week in the Harvard Business Review online.

The chances of a woman getting to the corner suite are slim without a high-ranking sponsor who can guide and promote them, Hewlett notes.