Regional accents are a disadvantage

Scousers, cockneys and brummies could be at a disadvantage to those who speak the Queen's English when it comes to business, according to a survey from communications consultancy, the Aziz Corporation.

The survey asked UK directors to judge how successful, hard-working, reliable and trustworthy a business person was, based purely on their accent. The results potentially spell bad news for those with Liverpool, Birmingham and West Country accents, with respondents having a significantly higher opinion of those from the Home Counties and Scotland.

The findings suggest that popular stereotypes still influence people’s opinions, as entrepreneurs with Liverpudlian accents were considered trustworthy by only 8% of participants and hard-working by just 9%. Almost 1 in 5 would be unlikely to Adam and Eve a cockney as their honesty was called into question.

Overall, almost half thought having a regional accent was a disadvantage in business, with only 7% considering it a plus.

Conversely, those from the Home Counties were seen to be more successful than those from elsewhere in the UK by more than half those surveyed, while Scots scored highly in all categories.

Taking a more global view, Americans and Europeans were viewed as more likely to succeed than those with strong regional UK accents, although the industriousness of Europeans was in doubt as only a fifth of directors thought them hard-working.

However, all is not lost for those with strong accents as Khalid Aziz, chairman of the Aziz Corporation reveals: “The fact remains it is not what you say, but the way you say it. Experience shows that the key is to avoid using localised vocabulary which others may not recognise. Also, sloppy speech is often a major obstacle to understanding. Bearing these results in mind, we would advise individuals to consider softening broad accents – not get rid of them.”

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