Home Business & Industry Survey Reveals the UK’s Attitudes Towards Different Accents in the Workplace

Survey Reveals the UK’s Attitudes Towards Different Accents in the Workplace

Published: Last updated:
Reading Time: 3 minutes

From our intelligence levels to personal perception, accents can be used to draw up false conclusions about a person. Despite this being something that usually cannot be controlled, making assumptions or judgments based on other people’s accents is something we’re likely all guilty of from time to time.

Moneypenny has surveyed 1,000 UK office workers to gauge their reactions to various accents, including British accents and the Republic of Ireland. Exploring the roles people believe they are best suited to in the workplace.

We also looked at demographics such as age, region, and gender to analyse if there were any patterns in the attitude towards specific accents and how they were portrayed within the work environment.

Emotions they evoke

Research revealed that 71% of UK adults agree that accents affect the delivery of what somebody is trying to say. In more detail, 50% of those surveyed somewhat believe in the statement that “someone’s accent affects the message they deliver when they speak.” While 21% strongly agreed with the statement, only 2% were at the opposite end of the scale and strongly disagreed. There were also 20% who neither agreed nor disagreed, believing accents not to be important when communicating.

With most people agreeing with the statement, it’s safe to say that, although unintentional, some of us can hold judgement towards certain accents, and this can affect how we perceive a message, depending on where the person saying it is from.

But if these accents do impact how we feel, then what emotions do they evoke?

Most calming

Of those surveyed, 17% believed that Southern Irish (Republic of Ireland) accents were the most calming, with Welsh a close second with 12%. Edinburgh (8%) and Northern Irish (6%) accents ranked next in the survey. 22% of those questioned said they found none of the accents to be the most calming within the workplace.

Most motivating

A huge 37% believed that none of the accents included were the best at motivating employees. That left the Geordie accent topping the charts, with 9% of the survey respondents voting it as the most motivating.

Most encouraging

The Yorkshire and Geordie accents were also voted as the most encouraging accents in the workplace (9%). The least encouraging accent, according to our survey, was the Norfolk accent.

Least annoying

West Country, Yorkshire, Southern Irish, and Norfolk accents were voted as the least annoying accents in the survey, at 2% for all four.

The best role in the workplace for specific accents

Looking into how different accents make their staff members feel provides great insight, but how do these accents compare when it comes to fulfilling customer-facing roles such as providing news or customer service?

The best accent to deliver bad news saw the Southern Irish accent prevail again with 16% of the vote. Followed closely, however, by the Welsh (14%), Edinburgh, and Yorkshire (12%).

This also yielded a result of 39% voting that no accent had a particular effect when it came to delivering bad news, suggesting not everyone is as swayed by accents from certain regions.

The accents that respondents viewed as the best for delivering good news, again, were the Southern Irish accent, Yorkshire accent, and Welsh accent at 17%, 16%, and 15%, respectively.

A very important aspect of most industries is customer service, with the success of many businesses attributed to how well they value and treat their customers.

The best and worst accents for delivering customer service

The survey also delved into what office workers believed to be the best and worst accents when it came to customer service.

According to the survey results, the best accent for providing customer service is the Yorkshire accent, with 17% of the vote. However, Yorkshire only just topped this one, with Geordie and Southern Ireland right behind with 16% each.

There was, however, a slight bias when looking at the voting demographics: 50% of the North East vote for Geordie, while 43% of Yorkshire vote for their accent.

What Moneypenny had to say

“Overall, we found that the survey provided a valuable insight into the attitudes towards different accents within the workplace, sourced directly from UK office workers themselves.

“With companies employing people from further afield due to the increase in remote working, it’s valuable to see how accents can be interpreted in different ways depending on the region people come from.

“As many people continue to work in these industries and try their hand at new jobs, we believe they should be treated with dignity and respect, no matter the accent.”

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd