More Workers Participating in College Basketball Tourney Office Pools, Finds CareerBuilder Survey
-Midwest workers, senior-level employees more likely to participate
-Workers share the strangest betting pools witnessed at their office

CHICAGO – March 18, 2015 – With the first full day of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament set to begin Thursday, a new CareerBuilder survey suggests more workers will be checking their brackets at the office. Approximately one in seven (15 percent) of U.S. workers said they plan to participate in office pools this year; that’s up from the 11 percent who planned to do so in 2014. Twenty percent of all U.S workers said they’ve participated in an NCAA Tournament office pool in the past. 

The nationwide survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from November 4 to December 2, 2014, among a representative sample of more than 3,000 full-time employees across occupations and industries. 

Workers Most Likely to Wager

The following represent the groups of workers most likely to have participated in an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament office pool in the past.

Industry: Workers in IT and sales lead all industries/professions in office pool participation.

  • IT – 40 percent
  • Sales – 33 percent
  • Financial Services – 30 percent  
  • Retail – 27 percent  
  • Health Care (offices with more than 50 employees) – 19 percent
  • Leisure/Hospitality – 14 percent

Senior-Level Employees: Senior management (C-Levels, VPs, directors/managers/supervisors/team leaders) are far more likely to participate in office pools than entry-level, administrative, professional staff and technical employees – 27 percent vs. 19 percent.

Workers making at least $75k: Thirty-one percent of employees making $75,000 or more annually have participated in a tournament pool, compared to just 18 percent of those making less than $75,000.

Midwesterners and Northeasterners: Workers in the South and West participate at lower rates (18 percent and 17 percent, respectively) compared to workers in the Midwest and Northeast (26 percent and 23 percent, respectively).

The Strangest Office Pools

Sports, however, is not the only vehicle for workplace betting. The following are other, often unusual, examples shared by U.S. workers:

  • Employees bet on who would become the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Employees predicted when a colleague’s current relationship would end.
  • Employees made Bingo cards of common complaints made by a coworker.
  • Employees guessed the number of protein coding genes in the human genome.
  • Employees bet on who would hookup with who at the company holiday party.
  • Employees predicted the weekly eliminations on the Bachelor reality TV competition.
  • Employees predicted the next coworker to quit.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,056 U.S. workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between November 4 and December 2, 2014 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 2 3,056, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-1.77 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

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