RISMEDIA, August 27, 2007-Think that an employee’s work speaks for itself when it comes time for reviews, promotions or landing a new position? That is not necessarily the case according to a new survey from Yahoo! HotJobs and Banana Republic, which found that wardrobe is becoming an increasingly important factor for advancement.
The majority of the general workforce (68%) and of human resource (HR) professionals (82%) agree that the way employees dress at work directly affects their prospect for a promotion.
“Wardrobe choices really can make or break an employee’s chance for promotion,” says Yahoo! HotJobs Managing Editor, Tom Musbach. “A person’s workplace attire is a reflection of the overall professional image that they want to portray and it speaks to the care and consideration they place on their work. This can be just as important as promptness or preparedness when considering an employee for career advancement.”
While most employees acknowledge the important role that workplace attire plays in getting ahead, 61% admit that they either don’t know or don’t care about their company “dress code.” Rather, they maintain that looking professional is a top priority, but opt to express themselves in business casual and comfortable, laidback styles.
“Dressing for comfort, style and advancement all at the same time can be challenging,” points out Deborah Lloyd, executive vice president of Design and Product Development for Banana Republic. “Professionalism doesn’t need to be sacrificed for comfort or style. Instead, choose versatile looks that allow you to infuse your own personal style.”
What’s Important to Employees
Employees will be happy to hear that it’s possible to balance comfort and professionalism, based on their top considerations when deciding what to wear to work (ranked in order of importance):
1. Appearing professional (81%)
2. Being comfortable (78%)
3. Dressing conservatively (48%)
4. Looking stylish and expressing their individual style (46%)
Common Wardrobe Problems
Although appearing professional, or “promote-able,” ranked at the top of workers’ priorities, there is room for improvement:
36% feel like they are in a fashion rut and have trouble refreshing their workplace wardrobe
25% admit to being late to work because they couldn’t decide what to wear or they had a wardrobe malfunction
13% have been reprimanded by a supervisor for their clothing attire
“A” for Style Effort
Management can rest easy knowing that employees are willing to put forth the necessary effort to perfect their workplace attire, even if they still need some guidance:
58% of employees re-evaluate their wardrobe and buy new clothes seasonally
57% would be willing to spend the money to buy a new wardrobe if it meant getting a promotion
52% estimate that of their total wardrobe budget, they spend an equal amount or more on career clothes than they do on non-workplace attire
Work Every Day in Style
To help employees in their search for both style and advancement, Yahoo! HotJobs and Banana Republic have teamed up to offer the “Work Every Day in Style” promotion. From August 22 – September 30, 2007, visitors to Yahoo! HotJobs can enter a daily sweepstakes where a recipient will be chosen every day for 40-days to receive a $1,000 wardrobe from Banana Republic.
Work Wardrobe Tips
Don’t be afraid to ask. If you have any question about your company’s dress code, seek clarification from your HR Department.
Take a hint from your boss. If you’re trying to get ahead, then look the part. Take cues from your manager and mirror a similar level of professional dress.
Be ready. Keep an extra jacket and nice pair of dress shoes in your office to help liven up any outfit, in case you get pulled into a last minute meeting.
Understand business casual. No matter how casual your office, avoid anything too sloppy or over-exposing. Sweats and ripped clothing are too casual.
About the Surveys
The Workforce Survey data was collected from more than 1,400 employees via an online survey questionnaire across the Yahoo! network, fielded across all 50 states. Fifty-three% of respondents were male and forty-seven percent were female. The HR Professional Survey data was collected from more than 750 HR professionals through HR.com, using an online survey questionnaire. The results for both surveys reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate. Comprehensive survey results may be obtained via the media contacts listed below.
Visit http://hotjobs.yahoo.com for sweepstakes details and tips from Yahoo! HotJobs and Banana Republic on how to live everyday in style.
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