In a year marked by heightened ideological divisions and intense political discourse, the United States finds itself grappling with internal conflicts on issues such as immigration, race, gender, and global conflicts. In the midst of an election year, the nation appears more disunited than united. The ongoing struggle revolves around social, political, and constitutional matters, as revealed by a Pew Research Center study indicating that a majority of people feel exhausted by political considerations. Against this backdrop, HiBob presents the insights from the 2024 Sociopolitics in the US Workplace study.

The research conducted its second annual survey on this subject matter in January 2024. With insights from 1000 professionals, the survey delves into employees’ perspectives on political expression, addressing the appropriateness, location, and manner of political discourse. As we explore the findings, we aim to assist employers in understanding and responding to the challenges posed by sociopolitical dynamics in the workplace.

Key Takeaways

People could be deterred from joining a company if a company’s political stance opposes theirs

Candidates are less likely to join a company if their political beliefs clash with the company’s. When deciding on a job offer, 44% of respondents (up from 39% the previous year) mention a company’s political stance as a deterrent. Interestingly, more men (47%) than women (37%) would be deterred from accepting a job if the company’s political stance contradicted theirs. A notable 42% state that it will not deter them. 

Employees would not be prompted to leave a company due to its opposing political stance

This year saw a significant leap from last year’s 46% to this year’s 60% of respondents who state they would not be prompted to leave a company with conflicting political views to theirs. Slightly fewer (26%) compared to last year (29%)now say a company’s opposing stance would lead them to leave. 

Strong consensus to keep politics out of the office and company communication channels

Employees and managers continue to avoid political discussions at work, with 77% now expressing this preference compared to 61% last year. Additionally, 81% believe sociopolitical discussions should be kept off company communication channels like Slack, marking an increase from 66% the previous year.

People also urge avoiding political discussions on business-related social media platforms, and to establish clear guidelines outlining acceptable behavior

People are increasingly wary of discussing politics on personal-professional platforms like LinkedIn. In this survey, 68% of respondents express the belief that sociopolitical discussions should be avoided on business-related social media, marking an increase from 57% last year. Additionally, 47% feel that companies should intervene and restrict employees from posting their political opinions, a slight uptick from 43% last year.

Sharing sociopolitical opinions with managers and colleagues can negatively impact work and working relationships

Sharing political opinions at work can have consequences, as indicated by our survey. When asked, 50% of respondents expressed concern that sharing their opinions with their manager (up from 42% in 2023) could harm their job and relationships. Additionally, 61% felt the same about sharing opinions with a colleague, up from 50%.

Encourage respectful and safe sociopolitical discussions to foster a genuinely inclusive and diverse company culture

Encouraging respectful sociopolitical discourse is favored by 58% of respondents, up from 48% in 2023, and 74% feel these discussions should occur in a safe space that includes voicing opposing opinions respectfully, a slight decrease from 81% last year.


Employer brand 

As nations become more divided on sociopolitical issues, companies face the challenge of finding a balance between taking a stance, making allowances, and managing diverse forums. The study explores how a company’s political stance affects its employer brand, influencing candidates’ decisions to accept job offers or consider leaving their current employment.

Our findings reveal that a company’s political stance significantly influences respondents’ job decisions. The report indicates that 42% of respondents would be deterred from accepting an offer if the company holds an opposing opinion, and 26% would consider leaving for the same reason. Notably, 60% of respondents express a willingness to stay, suggesting a mix of concerns about alternative employment options or an acceptance of differing opinions. Additionally, the data shows that more men (47%) than women (37%) would be deterred from accepting a job with opposing political views, and more men (28%) than women (23%) would consider leaving in such a scenario.

Age plays a role in job decisions, with millennials and younger workers more likely to avoid a job with a company holding conflicting political views. Specifically, 64% of respondents aged 25-34 and 39% of those aged 35-44 would be deterred from taking a role under such conditions, in contrast to only 15% of individuals over 54. Interestingly, these age groups are also less likely to leave an employer over differing opinions, with 57% of those aged 25-34 and 37% of those aged 35-44 citing this concern, compared to 16% of people over 54.

Parents are more likely to be influenced by a company’s politics than non-parents, according to the research. Non-parents express greater hesitation about joining a company with opposing political views and are more inclined to leave a company holding differing political stances compared to parents.

Where should sociopolitical issues be discussed? 

Building on the research conducted in 2023, the current report once again delves into the perspectives of respondents regarding the appropriate and inappropriate venues for discussing sociopolitical issues. This includes examining viewpoints on discussing such matters in the workplace, company digital communication channels, and on social media. As in the previous year, emotions and opinions continue to be strongly felt in this regard.

Political discussions in the office

The majority of respondents (77%) advocate for excluding sociopolitical discussions from the office environment to safeguard company culture.  This is a marked increase from 61% in the previous study. Notably, a higher percentage of men (15%) than women (10%) express disagreement.

The results reveal a mixed picture regarding attitudes towards sociopolitical discussions, particularly in the context of age groups. Younger individuals (under 44) emerge as stronger advocates for free speech, with majorities disagreeing with keeping such discussions out of the office (64%), company digital communication channels (67%), and personal-professional social media platforms (65% ).

On the flip side, this demographic also comprises a notable proportion expressing a lack of opinion in each of those areas, indicating a complex interplay between apathy and stance.

Political discussions over company digital communications channels

Additionally, a significant majority (81%) favors keeping sociopolitical discourse out of the company’s digital communication channels. A gender disparity emerges, with more men (13%) opposing this compared to women.

The results highlight a notable generational divide in attitudes toward socio political discussions in company digital communication channels. A significant total of 67% of individuals under the age of 44 disagree with keeping such discussions restricted, emphasizing their inclination towards advocating for free speech. Simultaneously, a substantial portion of the younger demographic, 61%, expresses a lack of opinion, indicating once again a higher degree of apathy compared to the 39% of those aged 45 and older. This combination of dissenting views and a larger proportion of indifferent responses among the younger cohort suggests a cohort full of contradicting perspectives where both advocacy for free speech and a notable degree of ambivalence are evident and may be why these discussions are such an emotive subject to broach in places of work.

Political discussions on social media

Furthermore, well over half of the respondents (68%) prefer steering clear of sociopolitical discussions on personal-professional social media channels, with a notable gap as 24% of men disagree, surpassing the 16% of women who hold a similar view.

The findings underscore a distinct contrast in perspectives between age groups regarding socio political discussions on personal-professional social media platforms. Markedly, 65% of individuals under the age of 44 disagree with the notion of keeping such discussions restricted, revealing a strong inclination towards supporting freedom of speech. Concurrently, a larger segment of the younger population (57%) demonstrates a lack of a definitive opinion, surpassing the 42% of individuals aged 45 and older. Among the younger group, there is a higher proportion of ambivalence, suggesting a greater degree of confusion and conflicting viewpoints compared to the older cohorts. In contrast, the older cohorts generally exhibit a more standardized and cohesive stance on the issue.

There is also a diverse range of opinions with regards the level of corporate regulation regarding employees’ expression of political opinions outside of official company channels and in particular personal social media.

The results reveal a divided stance among respondents concerning the extent to which companies should regulate employees’ expression of political opinions over these channels. Nearly half of the participants (47%) strongly advocate for companies having the authority to restrict such postings. On the contrary, 40% reject the idea that employees should be subject to regulations dictating their online content. A majority (58%) emphasize the importance of fostering respectful discourse through genuinely inclusive company cultures.

A gender disparity surfaces, with more men (43%) disagreeing compared to women (36%) on the notion that companies should prevent employees from posting about politics on personal social media platforms – reflective of the internal conflict being experienced by people with regards the balance between corporate governance and individual expression.

How should sociopolitical issues be discussed in the workplace?

The study results emphasize that respondents express a desire for the opportunity to engage in political discussions, provided it is conducted in a manner that is both respectful and conducive to a safe environment.

Should discussions be encouraged?

Overall a majority of 58% agree that respectful sociopolitical discourse should be encouraged in order to nurture a legitimately inclusive and diverse company culture.

The results reveal a gender disparity in perceptions of sociopolitical discourse within the workplace. A significant majority of men (63%) express the belief that fostering respectful sociopolitical discussions is crucial for cultivating a genuinely inclusive and diverse company culture. This finding underscores a contrast, suggesting that men, to a greater extent than women, prioritize the encouragement of open and respectful conversations on sociopolitical matters as a means of fostering inclusivity in the corporate environment.

The results highlight a pronounced difference in perspectives between age groups regarding the promotion of respectful discourse for fostering an inclusive and diverse company culture. A significant majority of individuals under the age of 44 (66%) agree that encouraging respectful discourse is instrumental in nurturing such an environment. In contrast, only 33% of those aged 45 and older share this viewpoint. Furthermore, a noteworthy 56% of individuals under the age of 44 express disagreement with the notion that respectful discourse is essential for promoting an inclusive and diverse company culture. These findings underscore a complex interplay of opinions within the younger demographic, indicating a diversity of views on the role of discourse in cultivating workplace inclusivity.

The results indicate a prevailing sentiment among the respondents that any sociopolitical discussion should occur within a designated safe space conducive to respectful debate. A significant majority, comprising 74% of the participants, assert the necessity for such environments. This finding suggests a notable level of apprehension or concern among the surveyed individuals regarding unfettered discourse of this nature, underscoring the importance they place on establishing a safe space or ground rules for sociopolitical discussions. This recognition of the need for structured and respectful debate spaces implies a desire for constructive engagement and thoughtful conversation, possibly driven by a desire to avoid potential conflicts or discomfort associated with unregulated discussions.

The ramifications of discussing politics in the workplace

We also wanted to learn more about employees’ perceptions regarding the ramifications of sharing their political opinions with managers and colleagues. 

Sharing an opinion with managers and colleagues at work

Employees express apprehension about the potential consequences of sharing their political opinions with managers, fearing harm to their jobs or relationships within the company. This concern is particularly pronounced, with 55% of men, a notable increase from 46% the previous year, and 43% of women, up from 39%, acknowledging the potential negative impact on their professional standing and workplace relationships. Despite a collective desire for open sociopolitical discussions at work, the heightened levels of worry suggest a growing unease about expressing dissenting views, especially when they clash with managerial perspectives. This trend points to the delicate balance employees perceive between exercising their right to voice political opinions and safeguarding their positions within the company hierarchy.

The survey results also reveal a generational divide in the workplace regarding the sharing of political opinions with managers. A significant 62% of younger individuals express fear that expressing their political views could harm their relationship with their manager. In contrast, the older cohort, aged over 45 years, exhibits a lower level of concern, with only 38% expressing similar fears. This suggests that younger employees are more apprehensive about the potential repercussions of expressing their political beliefs in the workplace, highlighting a distinct age-related sense of power and confidence when navigating professional relationships amidst differing political opinions.

The consensus regarding the most effective preparation for workplaces in handling potential social and political issues is clear among the majority. Over a quarter (27%)  agree that having well-defined workplace policies is crucial in guiding employees on addressing challenges stemming from noteworthy social and political events. 

The top three responses were:  the importance of clear workplace policies (27%), comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training (21%), and open channels or forums for employees to engage in respectful discourse (18%). This suggests a shared belief in the necessity of providing a structured framework, educational resources, and avenues for constructive dialogue as key components in preparing the workforce for navigating complex social and political issues.

The majority – over half of the respondents (51%)  do not believe their CEO should speak publicly on controversial political and social issues.

There is a prevailing sentiment among respondents (34%) to keep corporate entities neutral in matters relating to sociopolitics.

However almost a quarter (23%) do think companies should take an official stand, another 23%  say they should not and almost a fifth (17%) don’t care.

Where does it leave us?

In today’s world, everything is often viewed from a political perspective. This includes a company’s efforts to make a positive impact, introduce new technologies, or openly support diversity, equity, and inclusion, all of which can be seen as having a sociopolitical stance. This stance becomes a part of the company’s image as an employer, influencing job applicants’ decisions to accept job offers. Some individuals might even leave their current jobs based on the political stance of their employer. Despite the widespread belief that politics should stay out of the workplace, especially during significant events like elections, conflicts, economic challenges, climate issues, or pandemics, avoiding sociopolitical discussions entirely is not always possible. Companies that prioritize their people can’t ignore these discussions, as neglecting them may harm working relationships and jeopardize a safe and inclusive workplace culture. Therefore, it’s essential for companies to establish clear guidelines for respectful conversations and create secure spaces where discussions can happen, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for all employees, regardless of their political views.