randstad US survey finds casual dress is (almost) always in fashion in today’s workplace.

33 percent of employees prefer an informal dress code to an extra $5K in salary

ATLANTA - August 27, 2019 - Randstad US today released results of a survey exploring American employees’ attitudes regarding workplace fashion. The findings not only revealed casual dress appears to be the new norm in most workplaces, but a third of respondents are completely resistant to formal workwear altogether. In fact, 33 percent said they’d quit their job (or turn down a job offer) if they were required to follow a conservative dress code.

despite more casual workplaces overall, most people still prefer more conservative attire when interviewing for a job.

  • A combined 79 percent report their current employers’ dress code policy is either business casual (26%), casual (33%) or non-existent/no dress code at all (20%).
  • However, 65 percent feel it’s important to wear a suit during an interview, regardless of how formal that company’s workplace actually is.
  • Forty-two percent say they’d rather be 20 minutes late to an interview than show up looking disheveled or underdressed.
  • Half (50%) of respondents say they will wear business attire from the waist up and casual clothing from the waist down when they have a video interview.

according to many U.S. workers, some things are still considered a bit too casual for the office.

  • Most workers feel ripped jeans (73%) and leggings (56%) are not appropriate workwear, even in a business casual work setting.
  • Fifty percent of respondents believe very high heels (defined in this survey as over three inches) look unprofessional, while 40 percent say the same about open-toed shoes of any kind.
  • Thirty-eight percent of 25-35-year-olds admit they’ve been asked to dress more professionally by their manager or HR, and 28 percent of all respondents say someone else’s clothing at work has made them feel uncomfortable because it was too revealing.

"The nature of work — where, when and how it gets done — has changed dramatically over the past several years, and many of those changes (open offices, remote work) have ultimately contributed to a less formal workplace," said Traci Fiatte, CEO, non-technical staffing, Randstad US. “It’s great to empower your employees to dress for their day, as well as show their personality, but it is equally important for employers to set some clear guidelines to ensure that everyone feels comfortable.”

from thermostat wars to fashion habits, there are distinct gender and generational differences.

  • Seventy-four percent of men surveyed own a suit, compared to 45 percent of women.
  • Over half (58%) of women say they’ve had to bring a sweater or blanket to work because of their cold office, compared to just 30 percent of men.
  • Most (63%) workers aged 18-35 say they prefer dressing up for work as it boosts their confidence and performance, while only 51 percent of workers aged 35-64 agree.
  • Forty percent of millennials would rather spill coffee on themselves before a big meeting than show up wearing the same outfit as their boss.

“There’s an interesting disconnect around younger workers: most associate dressing up with more confidence and better work performance, but nearly 40 percent also report they’ve had a manager speak to them about dressing more professionally,” continued Fiatte. “The bottom line is, as long as employees dress in a way that’s consistent with their employer’s policies, most managers care less about what their employees wear than about their performance and work output.”

To learn how you can modernize your company’s dress code policy and better engage with your workforce, visit the Randstad Learning Center.

survey methodology

Research findings are based on an OmniPulse survey fielded by national polling firm Dynata on behalf of Randstad US. The survey was fielded from June 24 to July 1, 2019. It included 1,204 employed people between the ages of 18 and 65+ and a nationally representative sample balanced on age, gender and region.

about randstad

Randstad North America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Randstad N.V., a €23.8 billion global provider of flexible work and human resources services. As a trusted human partner in the technology-driven world of talent, we combine the expertise and passion of our employees, with some of the most innovative HR technologies on the market today, to advance the careers and business success of our candidates and clients.

Randstad’s North American operations comprise 5,700+ associates and a deployed workforce of more than 100,000 in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to staffing and recruitment, Randstad offers outsourcing, consulting and workforce management solutions for generalist and specialist disciplines, including technology, engineering, finance and accounting, clinical and non-clinical healthcare, human resources, legal, life sciences, manufacturing and logistics, office and administration and sales and marketing. Global concepts available to North American client companies include RPO, MSP, integrated talent solutions, payrolling and independent contractor management and career transition services. Learn more at www.randstadusa.com or www.randstad.ca.

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SHIFT Communications for Randstad

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