The UK is a nation of ‘accent chameleons’, with two-thirds of workers consciously changing their accents when doing business, research reveals.
The Accent Factor study of 1,300 UK workers shows that younger employees (71% of under 30-year olds) were more inclined to change their accents when engaging in business conversations than older workers (61% of over 50s).
The study, by communications firm ntl:Telewest Business, shows that the London and South East accent was seen by all regions of the UK as the best accent to have to get ahead in finance (54%).
It was also seen as the best overall for sales and customer service (33%) across the country, although further away from the region, the accent scored lower.
People from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the strongest accents, the study found.
One in five business people claimed to have a ‘strong’ regional accent across the country, but this level was notably higher in Northern Ireland (42%) and Glasgow (28%) and above average in Edinburgh and Wales (21% each).
Every region, with the exception of the East of England, felt that their own accent was the ‘warmest’ and the best for conveying bad news.
Other key findings include:
Liverpool’s accent was voted by other regions as the best for telling jokes in the workplace, although Liverpudlians think their own accent is the ‘least trustworthy'[ for business in the UK, with a mark of six out of 10
East Anglia faces an identity crisis as almost half (46%) its residents feel they have ‘lost’ their regional accent or say they don’t have one at all. An above-average number of East Anglians (56%) will consciously change their accent when doing business
Scots are most likely to modify their voices in the workplace, with two-thirds (65% of people from Edinburgh and 62% from Glasgow) admitting to altering their accents.
People in the North East of England rated their accents as the ‘friendliest’ for commerce in the UK, with a mark of 8.8 out of 10.