As the UK gears up for its next general election, fresh research from HiBob, the HR platform company, reveals a significant rise in workplace tensions over political views.

The study highlights that one in six UK workers (17%) have clashed with a colleague or manager over differing political opinions.

Furthermore, the research indicates a growing unease with political discussions at work, with almost a third (31%) of employees feeling uncomfortable expressing their opinions, which hampers their ability to fully engage in the office environment.

The number of Brits advocating to ban political conversations from the workplace has jumped by 19 percent compared to last year, as concerns about the negative impact on company culture grow.

Gen Z Stands Firm on Political Conversations

Despite the rising discomfort, Gen Z employees (18-to-24-year-olds) are advocating for the continuation of political discourse in the workplace. Nearly six in ten (59%) of this age group believe that respectful sociopolitical discussions are essential for fostering an inclusive and diverse company culture. This contrasts sharply with older workers, where two-thirds (65%) of those aged 25 and over prefer to keep politics out of the office.

However, Gen Z workers also experience the most conflicts, with 24 percent reporting disagreements with colleagues or managers over political views. They are also the most hesitant to disclose their voting preferences for the upcoming election, with 43% feeling uncomfortable doing so.

The Complexity of Sociopolitical Discussions

While some employees find value in these discussions, others feel apprehensive. One in five (20%) UK workers are worried about engaging in sociopolitical conversations at work. Nonetheless, these discussions can make Gen Z workers feel supported (22%), heard (19%), and empowered (14%). This is in stark contrast to workers over 45, 40 percent of whom feel indifferent about such conversations.

The majority of UK workers (72%) agree that sociopolitical topics need to be discussed in a respectful and safe environment at work.

Changing Topics of Discussion

Compared to 2023, discussions around war and conflict (40%), immigration and refugee policies (32%), and climate change (32%) have increased in the workplace. Employees feel most comfortable discussing human rights (72%), healthcare access (78%), and climate change (74%). In contrast, immigration and refugee policies (29%), racial and ethnic discrimination (28%), and war and conflicts (27%) are the most uncomfortable topics, particularly for Gen Z.

Employers’ Role in Political and Social Issues

The research also reveals that almost one in five (19%) UK workers believe employers should publicly take a stance on political and social issues, a sentiment that rises to a third (33%) among Gen Z employees.

Impact on Employment Decisions

Sociopolitical issues significantly influence employment decisions, especially among Gen Z. More than half (53%) of Gen Z employees would be deterred from accepting a job offer if the employer’s political stance conflicted with their own, and 30 percent would consider leaving their job under such circumstances.

Preparing for Sociopolitical Conversations

To navigate these generational differences, UK workers suggest that companies need clear workplace policies (31%), comprehensive DE&I training (16%), and platforms for open dialogue (14%).

Ronni Zehavi, CEO of HiBob, comments, “As the UK general election is announced, polarization around social and political issues is reaching new depths. Our research shows that discourse has become more prominent in the workplace. While there are opposing views on whether these conversations should occur, younger workers believe they are crucial for an inclusive culture. Organisations must prepare to handle these discussions, ensuring safe and respectful environments where every voice is heard.”

Zehavi added, “Creating spaces for socio-political discussions can be challenging but is essential for enabling employees to bring their authentic selves to work. This fosters creativity and strengthens professional relationships in the long term.”

As the election approaches, UK workplaces are becoming battlegrounds for political views, highlighting the need for careful management of socio-political discussions to maintain a positive and inclusive work environment.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.