One-half of employers less likely to promote workers who swear: Survey

Concerned about employees' lack of control, maturity, intelligence

Employees who frequently swear at may lose out on a promotion, according to a survey in the United States. Sixty-four per cent of employers said they’d think less of an employee who repeatedly uses curse words, and 57 per cent said they’d be less likely to promote someone who swears in the office.

And 51 per cent of workers reported they swear in the office, found the CareerBuilder survey of 2,298 hiring managers and HR professionals and 3,892 employees.

Most of those (95 per cent) said they do so in front of their co-workers, while 51 per cent cuss in front of the boss. Workers were the least likely to use expletives in front of senior leaders (13 per cent) and clients (seven per cent).

Comparing genders, men are more likely to report swearing at work — 54 per cent compared to 47 per cent of women, found the survey.

Employers are inclined to think less of an employee who swears at work for a variety of reasons. Most (81 per cent) believe the use of curse words brings the employee’s professionalism into question. Others are concerned with the lack of control (71 per cent) and lack of maturity (68 per cent), while 54 per cent said swearing at work makes an employee appear less intelligent.

However, one-quarter of employers admitted to swearing at their employees. Roughly the same amount (28 per cent) of workers said they have sworn at other co-workers.

Comparing age groups, employees aged 35 to 44 are the most likely to curse while on the job, found CareerBuilder:



18 to 24


25 to 34


35 to 44


45 to 54


55 and older


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