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Sex at work: findings from the US claim its more common then we expect, and explain the exact fall out for the couple, the company, and how it really costs senior executive women

Sex at work costs women aspiring to senior management roles big time, because to break through that glass ceiling you’ll need a sponsor, or a mentor in the C-suite, who will probably be male and married. The fear of sexual harassment suits or rumours can prevent men from supporting women, especially if they pick to back her rather then a male colleague. This report outlines how common sex in the workplace is (34% of exec women surveyed they knew of a female colleague who had an affair with the boss), the benefits and the costs for everyone.

Sometimes it worked, 37% of survey participants claim that the woman received a career boost. But that’s where the good news (if you can call it that) ends. 61% of men, and 70% of women lose respect for the leader involved, and 48% of men and 56% of women feel animosity for the couple. When the woman involved is a fairly junior one, every great assignment, pay rise or promotion she receives will be haunted by her colleagues (60% of male execs, 65% of female execs) assumptions that its in exchange for sexual favours. Stepping past attitudes, almost 40% of men and women saw decreased productivity because of the blow to morale an affair is.

The Work Life Policy Centre conducted this study, and it is an American study, but I imagine the attitudes, if not the statistics may be similar here. Having male allies is crucial for your career progression, so this is a serious issue. 


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