Sleeping Your Way to the Top

In a competitive industry, where men dominate in positions of power, it can be extremely difficult for female employees to work their way up the career ladder to an executive position. We might like to think that times have changed and it’s all about “equal rights”, but the gender gap is very much in existence.

Years ago, when I was a fresh graduate working at a top recruitment firm, I had the opportunity to see a stomach churning office romance first hand. Before this, I had genuinely believed that sexual liaisons at work didn’t occur in “professional” offices, but after my first month working for this company, I learnt that people who get up to mischief at work tend to keep it under wraps. Rumors were circulating the office that a married senior executive was having an affair with a young subordinate, but it was not until I happened to walk past the meeting room where I saw them in a rather compromising position, did I believe the scandal.

Feeling rather pale at what I saw, I decided to keep it to myself, well, until now that is!

The proof is out there in most offices, but before seeing it myself, I would never have believed that the two people involved could be so unprofessional. It just goes to show that not everyone is as they seem! 

Sleeping with the boss to get a promotion

Whilst this wasn’t the case in my experience (he wasnt her boss so couldnt promote her anyway!), it is apparently very common in offices for both men and women to use their sexuality to get ahead. According to a survey reported by the Daily Mail (UK), 37% of office workers said that in their experience, those who had slept with a superior at work, were given a promotion. Is this fair? No, of course not. But is this reality? Yes, it is. We have to face facts that in some cases, the co –worker who is willing to get frisky with the boss is more likely to secure herself a promotion over you. This also applies to male employees; apparently 80% of men interviewed (Australian Work-Policy Survey) said they were willing to sleep with their female boss to get ahead!

But is the corporate world really that tough to break for women? It seems so. Without having a flirty persona and willingness to get ahead, it can be almost impossible to get into a position of authority in a typical “men’s club” organisation. Financial institutions, banks and law firms have a reputation for being a 'mens club'.

The figures speak for themselves

US statistics reported by CareerBuilder (2011) reveal that of those interviewed, 28% of workers admitted to dating someone in their company, whilst 20% admitted to dating their boss. According to the survey, women were more likely to sleep with their boss than men, with 25% of women admitted to thinking about it, compared to 23% of men.

Choose your career carefully

It is not all down to the “men’s club” culture often experienced in traditionally male-domineering professions. The likeliness for office romances can actually be influenced by the industry you work in. Topping the list of industries dominating office romances is hospitality, followed by financial services.

Trading promotions for sexual favours

We cannot turn a blind eye to the raunchy behavior that goes on behind the boardroom door. In fact, if it is exposed, we can help shape a fairer environment for female and male employees to succeed without having to degrade themselves to get ahead.

Whilst the trade of sexual favours for a career boost can work, it will not work every time. If you are contemplating sleeping with the boss to sway the vote for promotion, think twice – do you really want to get up the ranks this way? There are many companies who would not stand for such behavior, in fact, some of the biggest companies in the world have contracts which they request employees to sign forbidding any form of workplace relationships. The choice is yours – sleep your way to the top, or slug your guts out like the rest of us and make it up the career ladder through hard work, sweat, and tears!