Survey reveals workers take colleagues less seriously if they have an accent

It’s not what you say but how you say it that may cause judgement from your work colleagues, research has found.

A poll by hearing campaign Heal the World found that 15% of 4,000 respondents would take a work colleague less seriously if they had an accent, while 11% said an accent would influence whether or not they did business with them.

One-quarter of respondents said the Brummie accent was the most annoying, with a Scottish accent perceived as the most aggressive.
People who spoke the Queen’s English were thought to be the most intelligent, while seven in 10 respondents said it carried the most authority.

The Scouse accent was found to be the most untrustworthy according to one in three respondents, followed by Cockney, which received 22% of the votes.

Dr Glenn Wilson, a psychologist at Kings College, London, said: “Accents can play a huge role in our initial attitude towards others. This explains why some people are more likely to adapt their accent to avoid being stereotyped and to encourage a particular impression.”

“There are essentially two components to an accent – location and strength. The location of someone’s accent encourages particular stereotypes and we presume people with stronger accents are less intelligent and are educated to a lesser degree,” Wilson added.

This story was first published by Personnel Today