As workplace romance gains acceptance in society, a new study from Vault.com shows that men and women engage in different kinds of relationships at work.
Overall, 56 percent of the business professionals surveyed said they have participated in some sort of relationship in the office.
“I think generally there’s been a breaking down of barriers between personal and work lives that goes back at least a couple of decades — it started with the advent of cellphones and email and has continued gathering speed ever since,” says Philip Stott, editor at Vault.com.
“And that same technology also facilitates relationships between people in ways that weren’t possible when you had to time your trips to the water cooler — and risk being away from your desk — if you wanted to flirt with a colleague. Add in the fact that the amount of time the average employee is spending at work has been steadily creeping up, and you start to wonder how relationships ever get started anywhere else!”
For the people behind the survey, the most surprising fact was how differently men and women approached relationships.
“What did stand out this year were the different experiences being reported by men and women: Women are much more likely to report that a relationship with a colleague turned into something serious, for example, while men are more likely to have had casual flings,” says Stott.
The survey also found that women are more likely to date their supervisor, while men are more likely to date a subordinate. Even though the data doesn’t look any closer at the reasons why, Stott offers an explanation.
“My best guess would be that it’s because men are simply more likely to be in senior positions than women,” he says.
“At present, only 46 of Fortune’s top 1,000 companies are led by a woman — a stat that suggests that the pool of talent right below CEO is also heavily male-dominated. With that lack of balance, it’s no surprise that the majority of relationships between colleagues at different levels in the company would involve a higher-placed male colleague.”