Working too hard to find a mate? Then join a company with the latest employee perk – dating agency membership.
The reception of the Sara Eden introduction agency is full of the triumphant faces of newlyweds smiling smugly from the walls. Many, according to founder Karen Mooney, are couples who have found true love thanks to their Sara Eden corporate membership. Corporate? Yes, employers are getting into the dating scene. Get used to it. Where once they were limited to the health club and the company pension, now employees can take the path to true love as a company perk through corporate memberships with top-notch dating agencies.
The motive is simple – if staff are happy in their personal lives, they will be more productive. Another argument is that, in an extremely buoyant employment market, an unusual and attractive perk will make employees think twice about leaving.
There are now 200,000 single men and women in the UK signed up with dating agencies. Sara Eden reported 65 percent increase in registrations via the Internet in December 1999, January and February 2000. Of these, 23 percent were lawyers, closely followed by bankers and doctors, all logging on at the end of their long days between 9 and 11pm. www.sara-eden.co.uk
A recent report by Mintel on the resurgence of dating agencies says that the market is now worth £30 million, up by 35 percent in the past year. It comments: “The introduction agency with a more exclusive cachet appeals to professionals who perhaps prefer a more formal approach and like the idea of being ‘in control’ in the selection process”
Karen Mooney, who is vice chairman of the Association of British Introduction Agencies as well as managing director of Sara Eden, has the bit between her teeth. “We are looking for more companies and we are getting approaches. I think we will be seeing dating agency membership as part of an employee’s relocation package in the future as a matter of course.” And for once it’s the smug marrieds who are going to be feeling left out”.