One in five people don’t think employers should be able to tell staff how to dress

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One in three don’t think employees would be able to distinguish between appropriate ‘work clothes’ and ‘non-work clothes’

  • One in three (33 per cent) say an enforced dress code makes them less likely to want to join a new company
  • One in 10 (13 per cent) say the dress code at their workplace is a reason they did, or plan to, quit  
  • But nearly half (47 per cent) think a ‘dress down’ code can lead to ‘dress collapse’ and low standards

Does a strict dress code improve standards at work, or does it drive off employees? It can be a difficult issue for businesses to navigate, as new research from Jobrapido, the world’s leading job search engine, has revealed, with stark differences between those arguing for strict dress codes and those looking for a more relaxed office.

The poll, which looked at attitudes of UK jobseekers toward dress codes in the workplace, also found that more than one in five people don’t think employers should be able to tell their staff how to dress for work, and as many as one in ten said their workplace dress code was a reason to leave their job.

Not everyone agreed that a workplace dress code was a bad influence though - nearly half (47 per cent) the respondents believed that a ‘dress down’ dress code can lead to ‘dress collapse’ and low standards in the workplace, with one in seven (15 per cent) saying it leads to lower quality work and less productive employees.

Some went even further, with almost 1 in 3 (30 per cent) believing employees wouldn’t be able to make a distinction between ‘work clothes’ and ‘non-work clothes’ without a code to guide them, while just under 2 in 5 (39 per cent) think you can judge how good someone is at their job by the way they are dressed.

Rob Brouwer, CEO of Jobrapido, said: Workplace dress-codes can sometimes be a difficult issue for businesses to navigate – especially in summer when the hot weather can make it a lot for tempting to try and dress down into something more comfortable that might not quite meet the expected level of dress.

Despite this, it’s important to note that two in three people still believe employers should be able to set a dress-code. If you’re in charge of the dress-code, just remember that two in three also said a more’ relaxed dress code’ makes employees happier at work, and four in nine said it makes employees more productive.”

The poll found that the top three sectors most people expect to have a specific dress code were Law (64 per cent), Finance/Banking (61 per cent) and Management (56 per cent). The sectors with the least expectation to have a specific dress code were IT (23 per cent), Media/Journalism (25 per cent) and Architecture/Engineering (25 per cent).

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