Finding Love At Work: Patterns in Glassdoor Data

Love in the workplace is often a taboo topic. But even though some employers discourage and even prohibit workplace romance, it’s no secret that co-workers routinely pair up at work.

But how common is it to find love in the workplace? And what can we learn about workplace dating according to company reviews on Glassdoor, shared by employees themselves?

To find out, we analyzed hundreds of thousands of company reviews posted anonymously by employees on Glassdoor between 2008 and 2015.[1] Using search analysis of key words used in reviews, we singled out examples of employees using phrases related to workplace romance, such as “met my husband/wife,” “found my soul mate,” “dated my co-worker” and more.

The result? It turns out that love has been and can be found at work, though it doesn’t appear at a high frequency. However, there are a few interesting trends to pay attention to. Overall, we unearthed 260 company reviews that mention meeting a significant other in the workplace, representing a diverse array of 219 companies including Abercrombie & Fitch, KPMG, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Wells Fargo, Whole Foods Market and many others.

Here are a few interesting patterns we found in the data.

Love is (Gender) Blind
If you think that one gender may be looking and finding love more than the other at work, you may want to think again. The data suggest that men and women are roughly equally represented among those finding love in the workplace, although women (52 percent) report finding love slightly more than men (48 percent). 

GD_BlogArticleCharts_0724_Gender

 

Source: Glassdoor (glassdoor.com/research).

Youth and Romance
Not surprisingly, most employees reporting workplace romances are in the early stages of their career. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) are less than 40 years old, and when we break this out even further, 30 percent are specifically in their 30s, 31 percent in their 20s and 1 percent are under 20 years old. Just 10 percent are 60 years old or above. This correlates with the fact that younger workers are disproportionately single and actively looking to meet others. 

GD_BlogArticleCharts_0724_Age

Source: Glassdoor (glassdoor.com/research).

Romance by Industry
When we look at love in the workplace by industry, two trends stand out. First, employees in relatively lower-skilled jobs, such as retail associates, which tend to be dominated by younger workers, report finding love at work at a higher frequency than others. Second, we also see that industries that offer a high level of social interaction on the job tend to find love at work most often.

The top five industries with employees reporting romance in the workplace are: Real Estate (#1; 0.033 percent of reviews), Entertainment (#2; 0.027 percent of reviews), Transportation (#3; 0.019 percent of reviews), Food Services (#4; 0.017 percent of reviews), and Retail (#5; 0.016 percent of reviews). The chart below shows a breakdown of just how likely it is that love can be found for than 20 industries. 

GD_BlogArticleCharts_0724_IndustryPatterns

Source: Glassdoor (glassdoor.com/research).

Job Satisfaction and Romance
A common assumption might be that those finding love in the workplace are more satisfied at work. However, our data tells a different story. In fact, employees who have found love at work report an average overall job satisfaction rating of 2.9, which is 0.3 lower than the average job satisfaction rating on Glassdoor of 3.2. (Ratings based on a 5-point scale: 1.0=very dissatisfied, 3.0=OK, 5.0=very satisfied).

The chart below compares overall ratings for those reporting workplace romances to ratings from a random sample of employer reviews pulled from all reviews posted on Glassdoor. The dark purple bar shows employees who have mentioned workplace romance, and the light purple bar shows a random sample of all other employees who have not mentioned finding love at work.

GD_BlogArticleCharts_0724_CoRating

Source: Glassdoor (glassdoor.com/research).

Why do those who find love at work report a lower job satisfaction rating than all other employees? This is likely best explained by the fact that younger workers are more likely to date in the workplace, and are also more likely to hold lower-skilled retail and food-service jobs where satisfaction ratings tend to be lower than average. In these cases, employees who mention finding love at work may be doing so in part because of the nature of these jobs—such as more sociability and interaction with co-workers—underscoring one of the more positive attributes of their work experience.

Common Phrases on Workplace Romance
What do those who report finding love at work say about their jobs? The following word clouds are based on words used by these employees from the “pros” and “cons” sections of company reviews they’ve shared on Glassdoor. Although the most common pros are related to meeting his or her significant other, the predominant cons had nothing to do with finding love in the workplace. Rather, they represented specific drawbacks of the job, such as long hours, minimum wage and high turnover. Unfortunately, there is no data to indicate whether someone stood a better chance at finding love on the job due to working long hours, presumably with co-workers.

Pros: 

pros

Cons:

cons

Trends in Romance
Finally, we examined trends in workplace romance over time. That is, we examined the number of Glassdoor reviews mentioning romance in the workplace as a percentage of total reviews submitted each year. As shown in the figure below, reports of workplace romance peaked in 2008. Since then reports have fallen slightly, stabilizing at roughly half the 2008 level in recent years.

GD_BlogArticleCharts_0724_ReviewsOverTime

Source: Glassdoor (glassdoor.com/research).

Conclusion
Although romance is often discouraged in the workplace, the data show that employees can and do find love at work and some aren’t afraid to share those experiences in employer reviews on Glassdoor.

Footnote:
[1] For the complete details of the analysis, please see the methodology section below.

Methodology:
The data are based on text searches of approved Glassdoor employer reviews (both from U.S. and international contributors) from 2008 to the present. Text searches included the following words and phrases: “boyfriend”; “girlfriend”; “husband”; “wife”; “met my husband”; “met my wife”; “met my significant other”; “met my girlfriend”; “met my boyfriend”; “met my soulmate”; “found my husband”; “found my wife”; “found my significant other”; “found my girlfriend”; “found my boyfriend”; and “found my soulmate.” The resulting sample consists of N = 260 employer reviews.