Quarter of adults have been mocked for their accent in the workplace

Quarter of adults have been mocked for their accent in the workplace


A quarter of adults have been mocked for their accent in the workplace, survey shows

  • Survey suggests accents are still a major factor in the acceptance by our peers
  • Respondents said their abilities were judged badly for not speaking ‘BBC English’
  •  29 per cent of working-class senior managers said that they had experienced it

Almost a third of students and a quarter of professionals have been mocked for their accents, research has found.

A survey suggests the way people speak still acts as a major factor in how they are accepted by peers and colleagues. 

In many cases, respondents said their abilities were judged as worse because they did not speak ‘BBC English’.

This is despite only 10 per cent of the UK population having this accent.

The poll by the Sutton Trust charity found that 30 per cent of university students reported being mocked, criticised or singled out on campus as a result of their accents. 

A quarter of professionals reported the same in work settings. These experiences were particularly prevalent for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who reported significantly more mocking or singling out. 

Almost a third of students and a quarter of professionals have been mocked for their accents, research has found

More than a quarter (29 per cent) of senior managers from working-class families said they had experienced it, compared with 22 per cent of those from better-off backgrounds.

Sutton Trust founder Sir Peter Lampl said: ‘This report recommends that action should be taken to diversify the workplace so that there is a range of accents within the organisation.’

It comes after a study earlier this year found northerners with strong accents are subjected to ‘profound’ social, economic and educational harm compared to those with southern accents.

Researchers at Northumbria University said that those with strong northern accents are seen as ‘less intelligent’ and ‘less educated’ by those in the south.

Earlier this year, Angela Rayner hit back at people who she said had ‘criticised her accent and grammar’ during an interview on the radio.

Dr Robert McKenzie, who led the project, also pointed to Labour’s Jess Phillips as an example of a politician who experiences accent-ism.

The professor acknowledged that it can work both ways. Another, less obvious, political victim was Jacob Rees-Mogg.

A poll commissioned by OnBuy.com in 2020 found that the Yorkshire accent was deemed to sound the most trustworthy in the country, with Received Pronunciation – the Queen’s English – coming a close second (pictured)

Meanwhile, a woman this week revealed her crippling phobia of Scottish accents, so severe it makes her feel sick and gives her heart palpitations. 

Kirsty Baker, 32, from Hampshire, winces at the sound of the Celtic twang and has turned down dates because of her irrational fear – even running out of a supermarket when she met a Scot.

Since she was a child she has switched the TV and radio off when she hears the dreaded accent.

Once a fan of David Tennant, Ms Baker now cannot bear to watch the actor on TV and says going to Scotland would be her ‘worst nightmare’.

The 32-year-old also says her love life has suffered as a result, adding: ‘I’ve definitely missed out on some good looking guys because of my fear.’ 

It comes after a poll commissioned in 2020 found that people who have a Yorkshire accent sound 25 times more trustworthy than someone with a Brummie accent.

In a poll commissioned by OnBuy, 2,221 people listened to 15 accents from around the UK and were then asked who they would trust and favour in job interviews based on their accent alone.

Of the 2,221 people involved in the poll, 60 per cent selected the Yorkshire accent as being the most trustworthy with adjectives such as ‘intelligent’ and ‘calming’ commonly used by those polled to describe it.

Having been selected by 57 per cent of participants, the Received Pronunciation, commonly found in Kent, London and Hertfordshire, came in at a close second place.

At the other end of the scale, the Brummie accent was deemed to sound the least trustworthy and was picked by only four per cent of those polled.

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