Politics in the Workplace


Majority of Executives Believe Results of Mid-Term Elections Will Impact Future Hiring, According to Korn Ferry Survey

--Virtually All Say They’ll Be Happy When Mid-Term Elections are Over -- 

Los Angeles, Oct. 31, 2018– As the United States prepares for this year’s mid-term elections, a new Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) survey finds executives believe the outcome will have an impact in the workplace.

Three quarters (75 percent) of the executive respondents from across a wide range of industries say the outcome of the elections will affect their company’s future hiring decisions, with nearly a quarter (23 percent) saying the results will have a significant impact on hiring.

When asked about what concerns them more when considering future hiring plans, 13 percent say the
mid-term elections, and 87 percent said the economy.

“There are many issues in play this election season that could have an impact on business and hiring,” said Bill Gilbert, a global operating executive for Korn Ferry. “As business leaders assess their future strategic priorities – including their talent agenda – they will most likely take into consideration the results of these elections.”

The survey also finds that politics overall is becoming a more contentious topic, with 60 percent saying political conversations have created a more divisive workplace in recent years, and 50 percent say they are not comfortable with politics being discussed while they are on the job.

The majority of respondents (59 percent) say they believe disclosing their own political affiliation could have a negative impact on their career. Perhaps because of this belief, more than two thirds (69 percent) say they do not discuss politics while at work.

“While election season often brings with it divisive issues that are flashpoints in the workplace, corporations should embrace this time as an opportunity to encourage constructive dialogue across divides,” said Andres Tapia, a Korn Ferry global diversity and inclusion strategist and author of The Inclusion Paradox: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity. “Political diversity is a new frontier in the work of inclusion. Corporations that already are nurturing inclusive environments have a unique opportunity to foster non-polarizing conversations that lead to new understandings of others’ political positions.”

As the election rhetoric continues to heat up, 83 percent of respondents say more of their colleagues will vote this mid-term election. In addition, the vast majority (94 percent) say they will be happy when the mid-term elections are over.

About the Survey

There were 552 responses to the executive survey, which took place in October 2018.

Survey Responses

How much of an impact will the outcome of the upcoming mid-term elections have on your company's hiring decisions?

A significant impact - 23 percent
Somewhat of an impact - 23 percent
Little impact - 29 percent
No impact - 25 percent

What concerns you more when you are considering your company's future hiring plans?

Mid-term elections - 13 percent
Economy - 87 percent

Compared to the last mid-term election, do you believe more of your colleagues will vote in this election?

Yes - 83 percent
No - 17 percent

Have political topics created a more divisive workplace in the past few years?

Yes - 60 percent
No - 40 percent

Do you feel that disclosing your political affiliations in the workplace could negatively impact your career?

Yes - 59 percent
No - 41 percent

Are you comfortable with politics being discussed in the workplace?

Yes - 50 percent
No - 50 percent

Do you personally discuss politics in the workplace?

Yes - 31 percent
No - 69 percent

Are you going to be glad when the mid-term elections are over?

Yes - 94 percent
No - 6 percent

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We help clients synchronize strategy and talent to drive superior performance. We work with organizations to design their structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people to bring their strategy to life. And we advise them on how to reward, develop, and motivate their people.

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