Dating can quickly turn from exciting to “Great, another first date” when you’re a working professional who works from home. Since the pandemic started, Zoom meetings, virtual office happy hours, and more have us stretched thin when it comes to not just our professional obligations, but the amount of energy we have to invest in our other relationships and ourselves. It’s safe to say that dating can feel like a little bit of a slog.
But this is why dating sites and apps were invented: to make finding matches and exploring connections easier by allowing us to date on our own schedule.
Dating sites for young professionals
2020 famously had a huge increase in the number of dating app signups during the pandemic, and if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, it’s a great way to find connections you otherwise might not if your workdays run long
No one with a packed work schedule has extra energy to spare, so getting to know someone before you clear your agenda to go on a date with them can help you perform a vibe-check ahead of time.
While different dating sites and apps serve different purposes (Tinder for hookups, eharmony to get really serious), you can do a little filtering for people who will better understand your professional lifestyle on most of them, which makes it easier to weed out people who don’t quite match your speed. You can get an idea about whether the app will help you find like-minded individuals by looking at things like user base, sign-up requirements, and more to up your chances of finding what you want.
What to look for in a dating app
There are plenty of sites out there if you want to find hookups and casual flings, but if you’re really looking to settle down with someone for the duration, a few dating sites are better suited to that than others. The general rule of thumb? If there’s a membership fee to sign up, people probably aren’t going to be trying to waste their time (or your time) — in other words, they’re just as serious as you are about meeting up IRL and hoping things go somewhere. We’ve all been at the end of a Tinder conversation where it’s all chat and no meet-up, and no working professional has time for that.
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- Best dating sites and apps for people over 40 — and which ones to avoid
- These dating sites are actually good for finding a serious relationship
What are the best dating sites and apps for professionals?
Ranking highest on our list were EliteSingles(opens in a new tab) and Match(opens in a new tab). We found that with sites like eharmony and Match, the initial output (i.e a lengthy sign-up and/or membership fee) is worth it for the return. We also loved Hinge(opens in a new tab): One of our top picks, the app is full of singles who are on the app specifically to go on dates, and it’s especially popular in big cities where more people are bound to have moved for their work.
But our top picks aren’t limited to just those — here are the 12 best online dating apps for people who are focused on their careers.
Best For People Looking For A Long-term Partner
- Free version: Yes
- Six months of Premium Light: $119.40 ($19.90 per month)
- 12 months of Premium Plus: $166.80 ($13.90 per month)
- 24 months of Premium Extra: $213.60 ($8.90 per month)
The gist: We’ve all heard of eharmony and most of us have seen the commercials. eharmony has been around for more than 20 years, and there’s a good reason why it still feels like a relevant presence in our dating lives: It works. The site has overhauled itself for better user results, but it still uses its tried-and-true scientific approach to dating. Based on the results of a lengthy questionnaire that covers topics such as what you’re looking for, likes and dislikes, hobbies, and behavioral habits, the site finds your most compatible matches.
Why it works: Plain and simple, the efficacy of eharmony comes down to the results and a reputation for success. No one wants to waste time, money, or energy on people who aren’t right for them or offer up some serious red flags, so having the app’s algorithm and science matching you up with highly compatible people goes a long way toward finding people you have a high probability of getting on with and who are just as focused on their career as you are. If you’re still unsure about going out in a pandemic world, the app also has a video call feature so you can safely have your first date virtually.
Pricing for the app changes pretty frequently, and it’s not transparent — you’ll have to create a free account to then find the current Premium pricing plans. On the plus side, while the subscription isn’t exactly cheap, it’ll winnow out the people who aren’t super-serious about finding dates or potential partners — so people tend to be on the same page about things.
For Those Simply Looking For Sex
- Free version: Yes
- One month of Gold: $27.95
- Three months of Gold: $59.85 ($19.95 per month)
- 12 months of Gold: $179.40 ($14.95 per month)
Best For Type-A Personalities
- Free version: Yes
- Three months of Standard: $74.97 ($24.99 per month)
- Six months of Standard: $95.94 ($15.99 per month)
- 12 months of Standard: $143.88 ($11.99 per month)
- Three months of Premium: $80.97 ($26.99 per month)
- Six months of Premium: $107.94 ($17.99 per month)
- 12 months of Premium: $167.88 ($13.99 per month)
The gist: Match(opens in a new tab) was one of the first names in the online dating game: It’s been around since 1995 and has the credentials of having found 1.6 million people their partners.
It’s also a talkative platform — vibe-wise, it’s not the kind of place you just tap through profiles of people and don’t start a conversation after. In fact, 387,000 conversations are started each on the platform, meaning users are actively seeking out dates. If you’re not a conversationalist, don’t worry — Lara, the virtual dating coach, is there to help provide some icebreakers to get the chat going (she’ll also help you improve your profile).
The app interface looks a little like Tinder, and functions like it, too: There’s no lengthy scientific personality test to take if that’s not what you’re into. Instead, you can answer a few short questions about your basic characteristics (what you’re looking for, your job, etc.). From there, instead of having the app pull matches from you based on an algorithm, you have access to the entire dating pool from the start and can use filters to find matches you think are compatible with you.
If you don’t want to start from zero, however (because as you know, time is money), the app will also recommend compatible people so you have a starting point for matching. The “Missed Connections” feature is also great — it’ll use GPS to let you know if you’ve crossed paths with any potential matches out and about in the real world.
Why it works: Match is great for working professionals who want to get a look at the whole dating pool before picking which end to jump into — you can start with all the possibilities and then winnow them down through the use of filters. It’s not too lenient, however (because you aren’t either!): There are ways to rule out people with whom you could never make it work.
Users tend to skew older too — think 35 to about 50, which puts the odds in favor of people looking for relationships and not just casual hookups. Plus, if you really want to keep all your options available — or don’t want to make endless small talk before heading on an IRL date, you can head to the platform’s informal match nights, events where singles using the app can get together. Either way, the approach gets results: The app boasts a relatively higher percentage of second and follow-up dates.
Best Tinder Alternative With A More Serious Vibe
- Free version: Yes
- One month of Preferred: $34.99
- Three months of Preferred: $64.99 ($21.66 per month)
- Six months of Preferred: $99.99 ($16.66 per month)
The gist: Although it launched in 2012, Hinge massively overhauled its platform and mechanics to differentiate itself from other dating sites like OkCupid and Tinder by offering a sleek way “relationship app,” as it initially branded itself, that’s “designed to be deleted.” Compared to Tinder (which is owned by the same parent company), Hinge is more about engaging over similar careers, interests, and senses of humor instead of a quick attraction swipe — and it gives you more of a look at people’s personalities from the start with new icebreaker features like video question prompts.
Single professionals will appreciate that 99 percent of Hinge users are college-educated as of 2019, and that the most popular industries include banking, consulting, media, and fashion. Hinge super-popular with young professionals in cities like NYC and Chicago, and it’s likely that a lot of users moved to that city for work and understand the 9 to 5 routine.
Why it works: To ensure that Hinge is based on more than thinking someone is hot, the app is designed for thought-provoking, easy engagement to help spark a connection with a bit more substance right from the get-go. A dating guide helps you get your profile into optimal shape in the least amount of time, and a prominently featured one is about how to move your convo into an IRL date. Profiles also feature questions that help you figure out the potential partner’s sense of humor, so there’s a dating expectation set from the start. (Your matches are also curated by your own answers to the same questions). If you upgrade to Preferred, you get more filters (like whether you’re cool with someone who smokes pot or votes Republican.)
Plus, there’s a cap to how many matches you can have each day in the free version, so for those who find the endless scroll-ability of Tinder distracts from their work to-do list, it can be nice to have a built-in cap.
While you might not have the initial lengthy questionnaire to cover before you get going on the app, there’s still an algorithm hard at work here. Hinge is deeply involved in the science of dating and revising its app accordingly to “design it to be deleted” (as their advertising tagline famously references) — so much so they have their own Hinge Labs. The company’s research lab, which studies users’ behavior, spent time during the pandemic conducting studies to see how users adapted to virtual dates (and to see how well its own tech was helping).
Working professionals don’t have time to waste playing games, and Hinge’s fun interface combined with real-world intentions is a great mix for people who want to find dates or relationships but who don’t need to take a super-serious approach to it.
Best For Progressive People
- Free version: Yes
- One month of OkCupid Basic: $11.99
- Three months of OkCupid Basic: $23.97 ($7.99 per month)
- Six months of OkCupid Basic: $35.94 ($5.99 per month)
- One month of OkCupid Premium: $23.99
- Three months of OkCupid Premium: $47.97 ($15.99 per month)
- Six months of OkCupid Premium: $71.94 ($11.99 per month)
The gist: OkCupid(opens in a new tab) is a great option for busy young professionals who want to dip their toes in the water of dating with thoughtful profiles — but who might be too overwhelmed with a work project to go through the entire questionnaire eHarmony and EliteSingles sit you down for. You can answer as many or as few initial questions as you want that range from what you’re on there for and whether you want kids to fetishes and political views, but the one thing you need to answer is what you’re on the app for: short-term dating, long-term, hookups, or new friends. It’s a great way to be efficient about prioritizing the motivations and qualities that are important to you but leave some room for chance by perhaps not answering some of other the questions, too. (Plus, the preferences can act as ice-breakers — or just unspoken facts — during your first messages or on your IRL date.)
While OkCupid lets you be as casual as you want, if you really want to get serious about your search, you can upgrade to one of a few subscription options that let you send unlimited Likes, choose Dealbreakers, and see people who like you before you like them. The latter feature, included in Premium, reduces a ton of fruitless time spent on the app by reducing the pool to people you’re guaranteed to match with.
Why it works: If you’re a young professional, this app is designed for you: Most users are between 25 and 34, and most are in the same work situation you are. By the end of the workday most of us are pretty fried. After eight hours in an office or on your sofa with your laptop, it can feel draining to sit and try to be creative when filling out a dating profile — and even more draining to swipe a dozen times with only one match as a result. OkCupid is great because it gives prompts and ridiculously detailed questions that help you out in showing your true colors without having to think too hard about it. For those short on time (or patience), it’s also a great way to quickly scan people before you spend an extended period of time with someone who has clashing views or interests that you consider a total deal-breaker.
Best If Higher Education Is A Dealbreaker
- Free version: Yes
- One month of Premium: $44.95
- Three months of Premium: $53.85 ($17.95 per month)
- Six months of Premium: $59.70 ($9.95 per month)
- 12 months of Premium: $107.40 ($8.95 per month)
The gist: EliteSingles boasts that more than 90% of its members have an above-average education — and are 30-plus, making it a great site if a bachelor’s degree is a personal prerequisite and if you don’t have the time or energy for twenty-somethings who don’t have an eye on the long game. Like eharmony, the very first step to signing up for an account is taking a lengthy (clear your schedule for this) personality test called the Five-Factor Model, which breaks some of your defining characteristics down into five categories: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. It’s only after you’ve revealed who you are that the app reveals your matches in turn — and unlike Tinder, where you’re greeted with an onslaught of matches and then a message telling you to check back later when you’ve swiped through all of them, EliteSingles recommends three to seven matches per day that it thinks will be a good match for you. There are other options to find people on the app too: You can go through your profile visitors or use a feature that shows you matches that might be just outside your chosen features but could still be compatible with you.
Why it works: If education is a major priority for you, this site boasts a user base that’s highly educated — and if finding a partner is also a major priority for you, the base is also likely to be looking for what you are. Like with eharmony, EliteSingles uses the long questionnaire to filter out people who aren’t totally on board with using the dating site productively — if their heart is less than into it, chances are they won’t finish answering all the questions.
And if the test didn’t do it, the membership fee is a second demonstration of commitment (and of their professional stability — it’s a lot of disposable income to fork out each month). If users make it past those two obstacles, chances are they’re not there just to look around.
Plus, because the user base is people over 30, they’re more likely to be settled in their careers and looking for something longer-term as opposed to casual dates or short flings. Likely to be educated professionals themselves, they’re more likely to get it when your work weeks looks too busy to hang or when you need to cut an evening short so you’re fresh for a morning presentation.
The result? Educated matches who are probably financially stable. And remember that since the app’s algorithm takes all the questions into consideration to produce matches for you, the odds are in your favor — essentially giving you a generous head start to finding your perfect match.
Best For Women Who Don’t Have Time To Waste
- Free version: Yes
- One week of Boost: $9.99
- One month of Boost: $16.99
- Three months of Boost: $33.99 ($11.33 per month)
- Six months of Boost: $54.99 ($9.17 per month)
- One week of Premium: $21.99
- One month of Premium: $44.99
- Three months of Premium: $89.99 ($30 per month)
- Lifetime of Premium: $229.99
The gist: Founded by a former Tinder employee, Bumble(opens in a new tab) is the app that turns the tables and has the ladies make the first move. Similar to Tinder, setting up your profile on Bumble is pretty straightforward and follows the “swipe left or right” method. After signing up, just fill out a brief bio and prompts and start swiping. When two people both swipe right (for yes) on each other, a “connection” is made. At this point, the woman then has 24 hours to start a conversation. If she doesn’t make a move within the time limit, the connection is lost. *However* if guys see that time is running out but don’t want to miss out on a match, they have the option to extend the connection for an extra 24 hours. The catch is: you’re only allowed to do this for one match per day, so best save if for someone you think is extra special. In same-sex matches, either person is able to make the first move.
The app definitely skews younger, with most users in their 20s and early 30s — and because they know their users are busy, there’s a daily swipe limit (which is both a blessing if you tend to spend hours swiping instead of working, and a curse if you’re not super-pleased with the crop the app’s found for you today.)
Why it works: Women do not have the time or patience to sift through a hundred “hey” messages, and a lot of women like the fact that the power is in their hands with this app. Plus, the 24-hour time limit helps keep the conversation going, which helps to establish a connection quickly and might just translate into an IRL date. Bumble helps to empower women and weed out some of the unwanted sleazy messages they might receive on other dating apps (should any hate speech or lewd messages arise, though, there are lots of security measures that help protect users). Bumble is a win for the guys as well though, since they can use the app knowing that all of the matches they receive are from women who are interested — meaning there’s less time wasted for both parties.
Best For People Who Always Consult Their Squad
- Free version: Yes
The gist: The geniuses at Match Group launched Ship(opens in a new tab) in 2019, and it puts the power of dating in your friends’ hands. It’s great for people who literally don’t have time for dating in their lives, who are burnt out on trying to keep up with other apps, or have friends who are super-involved in their lives.
On the app, you basically create a profile for yourself, pick some preferences when it comes to partners, and then assign a group who can swipe for you. When someone swipes on a match, the profile enters the group chat — but nothing goes anywhere until you swipe yes on them yourself.
Why it works: We all have that one friend who’s begging to “Tinder” for us, and in 2021, there’s an app for that: Ship is the modern take on having your friend act as a wingman or wingwoman at the bar, but using swiping instead of an awkward “Hey, my friend thinks you’re hot.” When you’re busy with projects and deadlines, dating often takes a backseat — this takes the job out of your hands and puts it in the hands of those who know you best. (Or at least they might think they do, and they might be right).
Best For Serendipitous Meetings
- Basic membership: Free
- One month of Premium: $24.99
- Three months of Premium:: $51.99 ($17.33 per month)
- Six months of Premium: $89.99 ($15 per month)
The gist: For when your schedule is too packed to plan times to meet new people — like, say, carving out time for happy hour at the bar — Happn(opens in a new tab) is like the dating app version of Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” section. You know, the one where hopeless romantics can post about that cute person they locked eyes with on the train, only to never see them again. It works by using the GPS tracking feature on your phone to list other users you crossed paths with IRL, and if your interest in someone else is reciprocated, you’ll be matched and can strike up a conversation in the app.
Why it works: This is the next best thing to a built-in radar for singles. While it doesn’t match you on anything other than proximity (there are no personality tests with this app!), it’s great if your only non-work hours are spent commuting or running errands. For those who spend their days darting from meeting to meeting, spending their lunch breaks on the phone, or generally rushing from one task to the next throughout the day, it can be hard to notice, let alone strike up a convo, with people who could pretty much be your destiny if you’d just take a minute to talk to them. This app literally meets you where you are — and the bonus of sharing a location with your match gives you great leads into icebreaker questions, too.
Best For Future Power Couples
Credit: The League
- Free version: Yes
- MEMBER (Starter): $299.99 per month ($74 per week)
- OWNER (Pro): $399.99 per month ($99 per week)
- INVESTOR (Heavy Hitter): $999.99 per month ($249 per week)
The gist: Launched in 2015, The League(opens in a new tab) is for look-good-on-paper people who want to meet other look-good-on-paper people. Targeted toward young professionals, the app prioritizes education and job title — one of the social networks you connect is your LinkedIn (though it has a system that lets users block their profile from coworkers). It’s all about status, status, status. Other than that, the app functions much like Tinder, with a two-week expiration on matches. While it’s not so great for those who live outside major cities where white-collar professionals flick, if you live in places like New York or Kansas City, you might want to give it a try.
Why it works: The app does the work for you by sending you five matches per day at 5 P.M., a.k.a. “Happy Hour” in the app’s lingo (which is good when you have a day packed full of calls and meetings). The pricing reflects its exclusive client base: Get ready to fork out some money if you’re accepted for membership — it’s pricey, and unlocking certain features will result in another charge to your credit card. While the argument could easily be made that it’s an incredibly elitist app — and it’s received a lot of flak for lack of diversity — it’s still a popular pick with the future 1%.
Best If You Need A Reminder To Date
Credit: Coffee Meets Bagel
- Free version: Yes
- One month of Premium: $34.99
- Three months of Premium: $105 ($35 per month)
- Six months of Premium: $210 ($35 per month)
The gist: Admittedly, the prospect of calling matches “bagels” is a little weird, but if you can overlook that, this app is great for people who need a few reminders to actually get out there and date — say, if work has you slammed with projects and matches are always expiring on Bumble before you can match them. On Coffee Meets Bagel(opens in a new tab), you receive curated matches at noon each day, so you can schedule in the time to scroll through during your lunch break.
Profiles tend to go a bit more in-depth than Tinder (think more Hinge in terms of revealing icebreaker prompts). If you identify as a woman and you’re looking for a heterosexual relationship, you’ll only be presented with matches who are already interested in you, so there’s less time-wasting on your end.
Why it works: The best part for overworked young professionals is the app’s fairly aggressive reminder notification feature. You’ll get pinged with encouragement to set up a date with matches or to message users — while some find it annoying, those who don’t have much bandwidth might appreciate the reminders.
Best If You’ve Exhausted All Other Options
- Free version: Yes
- One month of Premium: $29.95
- Three months of Premium: $39.95 ($13.32 per month)
- Six months of Premium: $74.95 ($12.49 per month)
- 12 months of Premium: $119.95 ($10 per month)
The gist: Zoosk(opens in a new tab) is the app that can read between the lines to figure out what you need — and it makes it super easy to get going with signup taking just three to five minutes. Once you log in, just fill in some basic info (body type, education, religion, and a brief “about me” bio), and you’re free to start browsing profiles. However, there are other optional questions designed to let other singles know exactly what you’re looking for, so you can spend as much or as little time as you want answering them. Zoosk then “observes” who you’ve liked or clicked on on the app to curate more compatible matches going forward.
Once you’re ready to go, the dating site gives you a variety of interactive options, from sending hearts and smileys, to a swipe-like yes or no feature, to showing you which users have viewed your profile and those who are currently online. In a strike against catfishing, Zoosk allows members to verify their profiles through video, in order to show that they actually look like their pics. If you don’t verify it, you can’t use the app to find matches.
In theory, this should be a great app. But in practice, there are more than a few weird things about the app, like the interface itself: It looks very much like old Facebook, and everything from the name to the graphics just seem a little off. There’s also the ability to send digital gifts, which are featured on the recipient’s profile. You can use real money to buy online gifts and send them, like a picture of a bottle of wine (why not just ask them out for the real deal?) or a diamond ring (why would you send that to someone you’re still just flirting with?). And why would you want everyone to see them?
Maybe most confusing is that despite boasting over 40 million members, Zoosk is filled with dead profiles, all but defeating the purpose of going online to meet someone in the first place.
Why it should work: Like Match, Zoosk gives you a wide variety of options in terms of finding other single people. Then, it actually analyzes your interactions and uses them to find you more matches you’ll like. It also screens out people who are just there to flirt and not take it further by restricting its messaging function to premium users only — so if someone’s paying to be able to messages, chances are they’re looking forward to a chance to connect in the real world, too.
But again, if there aren’t many active, real profiles out there, it doesn’t really matter how much time the algorithm should save you — in the end, it’s much more likely to waste it.