Workers take x-rated route to the top

One in five workers would consider an illicit encounter with a boss to get a promotion. Call us prudes, but that's maybe not such a great idea...

by Dave Waller
Last Updated: 26 Aug 2011
Sleeping with people connected with work is perhaps never the sharpest of moves. But despite the obvious pitfalls, it seems that office encounters are very much on the agenda: one in five workers would apparently be happy to, or would consider, sleeping with a senior manager to get a promotion.

That’s according to a survey by online recruitment website Staffbay, which found that men are more open to the prospect of sleeping their way up the career ladder. Overall 7% of workers would do it without even batting an eyelid – only 8% of women were willing to consider it, compared to a testosterone-pumping 30% of men. That still begs the question of how many would ever get the opportunity, and not only because of the oft-maligned paucity of women in senior positions.

It’s not the first time such attitudes have been unearthed. Last year the Centre for Work Life Policy in the US found that 34% of executive women claimed they knew a female colleague who has had an affair with a boss, while 15% of women at director level or above admitted to having affairs with senior colleagues themselves.

Now you don’t need us to go into all the pitfalls – but when feelings potentially creep in, the office environment can quickly turn sour. Also given the power that senior managers already have, there’s no guarantee they’d ever keep their side of the bargain and give you that promised new role anyway.

The Staffbay survey would be much more useful if it also covered the other side of the carnal equation - to find out what proportion of managers would consider promoting people just because they’d slept with them. Chances are that could be a surprisingly high figure too: 37% of respondents to last year’s CWLP study claimed the action was rewarded with a career boost.

There is, of course, another point of view on this. Fred Goodwin’s Rogue Biscuit email has made its way back into the news this week (as the anecdote features in a new book, Masters of Nothing: How the crash will happen again unless we understand human nature), and this reminded us that you can wind up with disciplinary action for something as innocent supplying a pink wafer biscuit with your boss’ tea. You could argue that if you’re going to get a ticking off anyway, it should at least be for something a bit racier…

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