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.”