Friends at work: A help or harm to your career?

two friends colleague sitting next to each other featuredLee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library

Today’s job market is extremely competitive and one of the keys to success is having the drive and ambition to reach the top. Despite this, research conducted by CV-Library found that 18.4% of workers have actually stayed in a job they hate just to remain close with their work friends. While this is good news for businesses, it’s worrying to think that women are hampering their own career opportunities, and happiness, at the expense of workplace friendships.

Alongside this, our study also found that 11.2% of women have left a job that they’ve loved after falling out with work friends. Again, a concerning revelation which begs the question: can having friends at work help, or harm, your career? I explain further below…

Career opportunities

Worryingly, our research found that 11.2% of women believe that having friends at work has harmed their career, with 6.2% revealing that they’ve fallen out with a work friend over a promotion. Fortunately, a further 10.3% of women value their career over friendships, but this number is still relatively small. As a nation, we are becoming increasingly distracted at work, due to a range of factors, which is, for some individuals, harming their career opportunities.

Focussing on the job in question is important and staying in a role that lacks opportunity, just because you have good friends in the office is a big mistake. Whilst you need to be happy in your job, today’s job market is booming – CV-Library reported a 14.1% job growth year-on-year this June – meaning there are plenty of opportunities out there.

The right balance

It’s obvious that friendships do contribute to employee wellness, whether it’s someone to wind-down with at lunch or after work, or a sounding board to get advice from. But there also needs to be a balance; having a strong network of friends and business contacts is extremely important, so building relationships will always be central to progression.

That said; just make sure you keep them professional. The most successful business people have achieved their ambitions through hard-work and dedication to their goals and you never know when you might need to tap into a current or ex-colleague to help further your career.

Happiness is important

At the end of the day, your overall wellbeing at work is most important. Organisations are becoming busier, which is leading to employees being more stressed and overworked. In fact, according to the National Charity Partnership, more than half (52%) of workers never leave the office at lunchtime, but having friends at work to socialise with during these hours can contribute positively to your happiness.

We all have different ways of working, and different preferences. Some people won’t see friends as a priority in the workplace, while others will. What we do know is that it is important to be proactive in your career, and with jobs on the rise, it might be a good time to think about the career opportunities in front of you, update your CV, and start looking for your next big move.

TechWomen100 Awards 2024 Nominations open

Upcoming Events


18jun09:3015:30Women in Leadership Conference | 18 June 24 | Science Gallery

19jun15:0017:00Virtual Class | Breastfeeding and Returning to Work Class

20junAll Day25The MoonWalk Iceland 2024

22junAll DayPRIDE PARTY presented by KIKI

22jun20:0023:30Pride Edinburgh Official After Party | Virgin Hotels Edinburgh

26jun10:0011:00How can school leaders support Menstrual Health and Menopause at work? | Online

27jun08:4518:00The Brilliance Summit

29jun09:0018:30Pride in London Parade with RICS

29jun10:0016:00Pride in London - Outvertising Walking Group

29jun10:3012:00Yoga for Acceptance - an Event for Pride

30jun19:0022:00PRIDE BINGO

Job Board Banner

Related Posts