Almost a third of UK directors think a strong regional accent is a
disadvantage in business, according to a new survey.
The sixth annual Aziz Management Communications Index finds that 31 per cent
of UK directors consider a strong regional accent to be a disadvantage in
business, compared to just 4 per cent who think it is an advantage. Those most
likely to take affront at strong regional lilt are directors of smaller
companies (57 per cent), those working in the finance sector (50 per cent) and
men (38 per cent).
The survey reveals that of all UK business people, those with a Home
Counties accent are judged most likely to be successful.
Businessmen who speak with an American accent are considered to be
hardworking and reliable by 31 per cent of their British peers, a higher rating
than those with any UK regional accent other than Scottish (also 31 per cent).
However, those with a Scottish accent are considered to be the most honest
and trustworthy by 28 per cent – in comparison, only 18 per cent believe this
to be the case with their American counterparts.
The research reveals that some regional accents convey negative impressions:
27 per cent of directors think those with a Liverpudlian accent are least
likely to be successful, compared to just 11 per cent believing them to be
fairly or very successful.
Khalid Aziz, chairman of The Aziz Corporation, said: "We are slightly
obsessed with accents and what we think they tell other people about us. These
results prove preconceptions still exist."