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Survey: Talking politics at work differs by age, gender

March 30, 2012

More Than One-Third of Workers Discuss Politics at Work
One-in-Five of Those Who Have Discussed Politics at Work Had a Fight or Heated Conversation with a Co-Worker Over Political Views
Career Builders

As one of the most anticipated and contentious presidential races moves forward, you may find the most vocal political pundits in the next cubicle, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. Thirty-six percent of workers reported they discuss politics at work. Forty-three percent expect they will be talking about this year’s presidential election with co-workers. The nationwide survey of more than 7,000 full-time workers nationwide was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder between November 9 and December 5, 2011.

While most conversations around politics were good-natured or even-tempered, 23 percent of workers who have discussed politics at work reported they had a heated discussion or fight with a co-worker, boss or someone else higher up in the organization. One-in-ten workers said their opinion about a co-worker changed after they discovered that person’s political affiliation, with most stating it changed for the negative.

Politics By Gender
Men were more likely to share political opinions or commentary at the office. Forty-four percent of men discuss politics at work compared to 28 percent of women. Men were also more likely to report an altercation with a co-worker over opposing political views – 25 percent compared to 19 percent of women.

Politics By Age
Workers age 55 and older were the most likely to discuss politics at work while those under the age of 25 were the least likely:
•Ages 18-24 – 25 percent
•Ages 25-34 – 30 percent
•Ages 35-44 – 34 percent
•Ages 45-54 – 40 percent
•Ages 55 and older – 43 percent

Are office politics more combative than government politics?
Forty-six percent of workers believe the competitive nature of government politics is strikingly similar to that office politics. Nearly one-in-five (19 percent) said office politics are more vicious than national politics.

“Most workers opt to keep political debates outside of the workplace,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Anytime you’re dealing with subject matter that is sensitive or potentially inflammatory, it’s important to always be respectful of your colleagues’ opinions and avoid emotionally-charged exchanges.”

  
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