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Nearly Half of Employees Regret Talking About Politics at Work

With a U.S. presidential election quickly approaching, many Americans are bracing for increased political discussions both at home and at work. To better understand how political discussions impact people in the workplace, ResumeHelp conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. workers, finding that 45% have regretted political discussions at work. Approximately 51% believe that talking about politics at work negatively impacts the overall work environment, while 24% say that the upcoming election is going to make their workplace more uncomfortable.  

“These findings suggest that political discussions at work can absolutely have a negative impact on employees’ experience in their workplace,” says Maria Correa, a career expert at ResumeHelp. “Additionally, when workers disagree with a company’s political position or with their boss’ political affiliation, it can impact not just morale but also retention and a company’s ability to recruit and hire.”  

A company’s politics can influence candidate interest, the study finds. Nearly one quarter (23%) of people have decided not to apply to a company’s job listing because of the company’s political stance. Approximately 10% of people have chosen not to apply for a job due to a company’s politics on more than one occasion.  

Political discussions in the workplace can create an undesirable climate for some workers, especially if it comes from the top. The study finds that 37% of workers know their bosses’ political affiliation, 59% believe their manager’s political beliefs influence their management style or decisions, and 25% have either left a job or wanted to leave a job because of their boss’ political beliefs. Specifically, 13% have left one or more jobs because of their boss’ political beliefs, while another 12% have wanted to leave their job for this same reason.  

Talk of politics in the workplace runs the risk of making people uncomfortable. More than half (51%) of those surveyed believe that talking about politics has a negative impact on the overall work environment, while 45% say they have regrets about political discussions they’ve had at work. Only 24% say it has a positive impact, and the other 26% say it has no impact on the atmosphere.  

Men and women experience political discussions in the workplace differently, with women feeling more negative about them. While 57% of women report feeling political discussions negatively impact the workplace, only 44% of men feel the same way. Conversely, men (32%) feel that talking about politics has a positive impact at work at nearly double the rate of women (17%).  

More than half (51%) of workers say they never or rarely discuss politics at work, but the sata shows that a person’s level of comfort with these discussions vary by age. People under 45 years of age report talking about politics at work at a higher rate than people over 45. Specifically, people ages 35-44 are the most likely to talk about politics at work (60%), followed by those ages 25-34 (58%).  

Those same age groups are also most likely to report higher comfort levesl with political discussions at work. Older workers are more likely to feel that political discussions create discomfort in the workplace (31% of those over 54 years old feel comfortable, compared to 50% among those ages 35-44).  

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