Sunday 23 November 2014

Young tech firms are hot spots for singles to mingle

Roisin Burke

Published 20/04/2014 | 02:30

OFFICE ROMANCE: Forbes said that 56 per cent of us have had an office romance
OFFICE ROMANCE: Forbes said that 56 per cent of us have had an office romance

Working on finding a relationship? We take a look at the top employers to find out which companies have the most pulling power

A recent piece of research quoted in Forbes said that 56 per cent of us have had an office romance, and with nearly a third saying a workplace kismet led to marriage – though a fair few of them have probably led to marriage break-ups as well. Bill Gates and his missus, Barack Obama and Michelle, and (unfortunately for Jennifer Aniston) Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie all clicked at work.

In this climate, permanent and pensionable with a well-endowed wallet has never been so deeply sexy. But which workplaces have the best conditions for meeting someone nice with a bob and a job?

Where are the most single 20-somethings? Where are there loads and loads more women, or way more men, to boost your company-keeping- at-the-company odds? If it's all about size for you, which companies give staff the biggest pay packets?

Let's have a look ...

Ladies. Two words: Paddy Power. The odds-totting brainboxes there helpfully calculated the male-female ratio there for us to exactly 2.36:1. That's 70 per cent men to 30 per cent women. In other words, flirtation odds massively heaped in favour of the girls.

We've been out to the Dublin HQ, and the cuteness quotient is high – and, while the average employee age is 32.2, there are rakes of guys in their 20s and there are plenty of fun nights out.

An insider adds: "We have a casual dress code which means you don't need to buy any slacks, and we have a social calendar so full that it would give Lindsay Lohan the shivers."

Tech job salaries there are a sociable €40,000-€60,000 on average.

The average age at Google is around the mid-20s mark, suggesting singles to mingle with aplenty among its 2000-plus Dublin staff. This is code red hipster territory though. Attractiveness levels may be severely impaired by ridiculous beards. Or bow ties. Or harem pants. Earning power is good, enough to get you taken out for a craft beer, or to see Nile Rodgers, or to go a couples' juggling workshop, with pay averaging at over €100,000 a year according to Google's accounts. (But that is a skewed average, there's no way the call centre monkeys are getting that. But they're probably young and cute.)

Google's spokeswoman claims the boy/girl mix is around 50/50, but we're told there are more women there. Possibly hipster women in dirndls and clogs though.

In the more traditional environment of banking finance giant Citigroup, 55 per cent of the 2,200 suity staff is male. Mid-level pay is in the region of €50,000, one recruiter tells us, but that's not confirmed by Citi. The average employee age is 35, suggesting fewer singletons on staff and more people going home to shout at their children and drink wine on the couch with their other half, and fewer lovematch prospects.

Accountancy big fours KPMG and PwC are two of the few workplaces where men are blessed among a majority of women in the workforce. At PwC it's 53 per cent more women to men and it's 51 per cent at KPMG. And possibly a higher level of single ladies too as average age at both is a youngish 31.

A good place to get someone's number? Telecoms giant Vodafone has a fair few more men as 60 per cent of its staff are guys. And it's potentially a hotbed of footloose 20-somethings and flirty 30s, with an average staff age of between 26 and 34 and a relatively new graduate programme boosting the young and single profile. Pay packets on average are comfortably in the "is that your wallet in your pocket or are you just glad to see me" range, averaging at €80,000 according to its accounts, though for retail staff it appears to be about half that.

Love is the drug at one of Ireland's top pharma companies. Abbott is a top recruiter in the PhD sphere and these well-paid brainy boffins are dotted all over the country at offices in Dublin, Donegal, Longford, Mayo, Sligo and Cork, Clonmel, Cootehill and Westport. However, the age profile is a possibly 'marrieds with kids'-heavy mid-30s among a staff of 3,000, where just over half are female. Pay at the high-skill end averages at around €70,000. Recommended chat-up lines? Maybe dust off that hilarious joke from The Big Bang Theory about the neutrino walking into a bar ...

More than 1,500 people work for Ireland's division of one of the world's biggest healthcare players, GSK, at Cork, Dublin, Dungarvan and Sligo, but they're older on average, hovering around 40, meaning possibly fewer single people on the shelf and eager to jump off it. But there are lots and lots of 20-something graduates and apprentices. Many of the staff with more sexy salaries are female, as there are a growing number of women on top in senior leadership roles across the business. Broad brush stroke average pay works out at a not unalluring €60,000 a year.

PayPal is like Tir na nOg. It won't divulge its average staff age range to us, but we've been there and anyone over 30 is positively ancient among a population of over 1,500 staff. Average pay is given to us by recruiters as less than €40,000, so you might be swopping ritzy expensive nights out for youth and nubility if you date a PayPaller.

There's an increasingly young 'n' single profile at global food innovator Kerry Group now that it's building its new R&D space in Kildare, where 900 people will be based. While Kerry looks for top talent in its staff, staff can look for top talent among each other on a ballpark salary of over €50,000.

Among the upper echelons boys rule, holding almost 80 per cent of the senior management jobs with the most attractive pay packages, but Kerry wouldn't give us a breakdown for the overall male/female ratio.

All told, it seems the newer generation-dominated technology companies probably have the hottest dating prospects. The places where the stars seem least aligned for romance are the older tech giants. Boston Scientific, HP and Intel have thousands of staff here, but also have an age profile pushing towards middle age and more likely to be off the market.

Not that that stops some people shopping around ...

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