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HiBob Study Reveals 44% of Job Seekers Hesitate to Join Companies with Different Political Views

Workers may appear more tolerant of political discourse, but leaders must address complex economic and political factors that are influencing talent acquisition, retention and engagement in an election year. 



April 3, 2024 – New York, New York: Leading HR technology disruptor HiBob is releasing the results of its latest study, Sociopolitics in the US Workplace,” which reveals that despite people not wanting to discuss politics at work, less will leave their jobs than in previous years. This year's findings build upon the insights gathered from a similar survey conducted in 2023. As the 2024 Presidential election approaches, the survey reveals profound insights into workplace dynamics and the challenges for leaders and HR professionals in establishing appropriate forums for discourse amidst heightened political tensions. While political discourse poses a reduced risk to retention compared to previous years, the study cautions against other threats to talent acquisition, culture, and engagement. 

 

"People today increasingly want company values to align or not conflict with their personal beliefs. This shows that a company's political views can affect who decides to work there. However, while dissenting political views might not drive employees to leave, the prevailing sentiment underscores a strong consensus: the imperative to maintain neutrality in both office discourse and digital platforms. The call to arms is clear—establishing clear guidelines and fostering respectful dialogue can pave the way for an inclusive culture where diverse perspectives are honored, and professional relationships thrive," said Ronni Zehavi, co-founder and CEO of HiBob.  

 

How Political Discussion Impacts Whether People Accept or Leave Jobs  


Compared to 2023, there is a greater level of tolerance among workers for politics in the workplace, possibly influenced by layoffs and a more competitive job market. 


  • 60% of respondents assert they would not leave a company solely due to its opposing political stance, marking a significant rise from 46% in 2023.  

  • Despite this, companies should still be cautious, as 44% of workers would be dissuaded from accepting a job offer if the company holds opposing political views, an increase from 39% in 2023. 

 

There are disparities across genders and generations in the willingness to accept a job offer with opposing political views. 

 

  • More men (49%) than women (37%) expressed deterrence.  

  • Millennials and younger workers prefer to avoid roles with conflicting political views, although they are less inclined to leave an employer over differing opinions compared to older peers. 

  • 64% of respondents aged 25-34 and 39% of those aged 35-44 express deterrence from taking a role with opposing political views, contrasting with only 15% of individuals over 54.  

  • When it came to leaving an employer over differing opinions, 57% of those aged 25-34 and 37% of those aged 35-44 cited this concern, compared to just 16% of individuals over 54.  

 

It is clear younger workers are more willing to accept differing opinions in the workplace and prioritize other factors such as job security and career growth opportunities over ideological alignment. It also indicates a shift where employers need to recognize and accommodate the diverse perspectives of their workforce to encourage a supportive environment that values open dialogue. 

 

Preferential Workplace Environment 


As the election approaches, more workers want to shy away from political discussions at work. A significant majority (77%) now prefer to avoid political conversations at work, a notable uptick from 61% reported in 2023.  

 

Companies are also being mindful of how they are communicating political views on external and social channels given how that may impact opinions of clients, customers, investors and employees. 


  • 81% are in favor of keeping sociopolitical discourse out of company digital communication channels, up from 66% in 2023.  

  • 68% prefer to steer clear of sociopolitical discussions on personal-professional social media channels like LinkedIn. Despite this aversion to politics in digital communications and social media, 58% agree that respectful sociopolitical discourse should be encouraged in the workplace, compared to 48% in 2023, demonstrating the complexity for leaders and HR professionals to establish the right forums for these conversations at work. 

 

Younger generations, particularly those under 44, appear to be more divided than older generations. The majority of respondents aged 25-44 advocate strongly for free speech, with 64% disagreeing with the exclusion of political discussions from the office, company digital communication channels (67%), and personal-professional social media platforms (65%). However, there is also a significant portion of younger individuals (61%) expressing a lack of opinion, indicating a higher degree of apathy compared to the 39% of those aged 45 and older. This indicates a higher degree of indifference for this generation in contrast with older cohorts who generally exhibit a more uniform and cohesive stance on political discourse. 

 

Concerns About Sharing Opinions 


With conversations about the election increasing, concerns about sharing opinions have escalated.  

 

  • 50% of respondents believe sharing political opinions with their manager could jeopardize their job and relationships, marking an increase from 42% reported in 2023.  

  • Colleagues are more hesitant to share their political views with each other, with 61% expressing concerns about potential repercussions on their relationships, up from 50%. 

  •  62% of younger individuals express fear their political views could damage their relationship with their manager. 

  • Conversely, the older cohort, aged over 45 years, demonstrates a lower level of concern, with only 38% expressing similar fears of potential fallout from their political opinions. 

 

Company Position The data underscores a complexity for businesses and workers alike, with implications for corporate strategy and employee engagement.  


  • Over half (51%) of respondents expressed disagreement about their CEO's involvement in discussing controversial political and social issues publicly, indicating potential risks associated with taking a public stance.  

  • However, 31% advocate for such engagement, suggesting potential benefits in aligning with certain causes or taking a stand.  

  • 34% of workers believe corporate entities should maintain neutrality in sociopolitical matters, while 23% suggest taking an official stance and an equal percentage argue against it. This diversity of perspectives within the workforce highlights the importance for businesses to carefully consider their approach to navigating sociopolitical issues. 

  • Additionally, almost a fifth (18%) exhibit indifference toward their company's position on sociopolitical issues, emphasizing the need for companies to weigh the potential implications for employee morale, retention, and brand reputation. 

 

In terms of workplace readiness for addressing social and political issues, respondents emphasized the importance of well-defined workplace policies, comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training, and the provision of open channels or forums for employees to engage in respectful discourse. 

 

“In an era where politics increasingly seeps into every aspect of our lives, HiBob's findings underscore the delicate balance between individual beliefs and workplace harmony. With statistics showcasing shifts in tolerance and apprehensions towards sociopolitical discourse, our findings beckon organizations to champion inclusivity, transforming workplaces into forums where every voice, contributes to richer understanding and progress,” adds Zehavi. 

 

The national survey was conducted online by Pollfish on behalf of HiBob in January 2024. It includes responses from 1,000 full-time employees aged 25 and over. The survey measured the views of male (55.2%) and female (44.2%) respondents, with the rest of respondents (.6%) identifying as non-binary or trans female.  

 

For more information, please visit: https://www.hibob.com/research/sociopolitics-in-the-us-workplace/   

 

About HiBob: HiBob is on a mission to transform how organizations operate in the modern world of work with its HR platform ‘Bob.’ Leading the way for the future workplace, Bob offers resilient, agile technology that wraps all the complexities of HR processes into a game changing, user-friendly tool that touches every employee across the business. Since 2015, trusted and empowered 'Bobbers’ from around the world have brought their authentic selves to work, inspired to build the exceptional HR systems that will revolutionize the work experience for HR professionals, managers, and employees. Agile and adaptable, HiBob innovates through continuous learning loops to produce seismic cultural shifts for companies with dynamic, distributed workforces.  HiBob is used by more than 2,500 multinational companies - including Cazoo, Gong, Hopin, Monzo, Happy Socks, Fiverr, and VaynerMedia. Organizations using Bob are able to accelerate hiring, retain the best talent, upskill, and elevate employee engagement.  For more information about HiBob, visit www.hibob.com.   

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