A posh accent will no longer help you up the greasy pole

Mar 29 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

An education may be the one thing you can never have taken away, but developing a plummy accent alongside it appears to have become more of a hindrance than a help to the modern business leader, according to a poll.

The survey by executive communications consultancy The Aziz Corporation found almost half - 49 per cent - of UK company directors and senior managers believe having a posh or upper-class accent can hold you back when it comes to succeeding in business.

But having a working-class accent is considered even worse, with more than eight out 10 - 86 per cent - of those polled feeling it was a disadvantage in business, while 64 per cent believed a neutral accent gave you a strong advantage.

Having a cheerful and upbeat manner or a good sense of humour also put you at an advantage, the poll found.

Aziz Corporation chairman Professor Khalid Aziz said: “The days when merely speaking with ‘the right accent’ was a pre-requisite to rising in the business world are now all but gone, although being an effective communicator is still paramount.

“It is therefore much more important that business leaders have a powerful personality, humour and presence. Being classless in business merely allows these other, more valuable, qualities to shine through.”