80% of Managers Agree that an Employee’s Wardrobe Can Affect Their Promotion Opportunities

BY Rachel Cagle
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Climbing the corporate ladder requires the right gear, new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam suggests. The majority of professionals (86%) and managers (80%) surveyed said clothing choices affect someone's chances of being promoted.

According to AudienceSCAN, Women's Clothing Shoppers are 33% more likely than other adults to have set a goal this year to improve their appearances. Another 38% have personal goals to reduce debt or increase savings. Put those two goals together, and you have an audience that will “dress to impress” in order to increase the chances of a promotion.

The study also found that workers put thought into their fashion decisions: They spend an average of 11 minutes a day selecting an outfit for the office. Employees ages 18 to 34 spend the most time deciding what to wear (13 minutes) compared to those ages 35 to 54 (10 minutes) and 55 and older (7 minutes). One thing that may make choosing an outfit faster is keeping a separate work wardrobe, like 67% of the professionals surveyed said they do.

Of the 25.4% of U.S. adults who plan to spend at least $500 on women's clothing this year, according to AudienceSCAN, 20.8% are between the ages of 25 and 34.

Wear This, Not That
What clothing is office-​appropriate? According to HR managers, jeans, tennis shoes and leggings top the list of items that are more acceptable to wear to work now than five years ago. In the same timeframe, employers have become less tolerant of tank tops, tops that expose one or both shoulders (aka cold shoulder tops) and shorts.

Addressing Employee Dressing
What happens when professionals don't dress to impress? Forty-​four percent of senior managers have talked to an employee about their inappropriate attire, and nearly one-​third (32%) have sent staff home based on what they were wearing. Half of executives who spoke with an employee or told someone to leave and change clothes were comfortable doing so. Thirty-​five percent felt awkward stepping in, and the other 15% didn't want to have the conversation at all.

Women's Clothing Shoppers can be reached with messages about how to dress to increase their chances of getting a promotion through TV commercials, according to AudienceSCAN. About 69.5% of these shoppers took action after seeing ads on TV last year. Along with messages about what to buy to better their work wardrobes, send them some coupons to help decrease the cost of their purchases. Another 64.8% of Women's Clothing Shoppers took action after receiving coupons and ads in the mail within the last 12 months.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.