35% of women told their appearance is a "distraction" to men at work

Charlie Benson
Content Marketing Executive

A recent survey has revealed 1 in 4 women have been cautioned for their appearance at work.

Researchers surveyed over 2,000 Britons who were aged over 18 and in full-time employment, with an even split between male and female respondents. 

Initially, survey respondents were asked about the dress code in their office. The majority described theirs as "formal" (34%), followed by "a set uniform" (29%) and "smart casual" (27%). They were then asked whether they had ever been spoken to by management about their appearance. Only 9% of British men answered "yes", whilst one quarter of women said they had. 




Female respondents were asked why they'd been cautioned about their workplace appearance; the following reasons were cited:

- Wearing too much makeup (46%)

- Wearing a skirt that is too short (35%)

- Wearing a top that was deemed too revealing (30%) 

- Being 'over the top' or flamboyant with outfit choice (15%) 


The 9% of male respondents who'd been pulled up on their appearance were also asked to state the reasons why. The most common reason was not being neatly shaven, followed by incorrect footwear, wearing shorts instead of trousers, and being 'over the top' or flamboyant with outfit choice. 


Worryingly, for 35% of women singled out about their appearance, the reason was that they were deemed "a distraction" to their male co-workers. 

Many female respondents admitted to feeling embarrassed, angry or singled out as a result of being pulled up on their appearance. Meanwhile, the majority of male respondents said they "shrugged it off". 


George Charles, spokesperson for VoucherCodes.co.uk, who conducted the research, commented: 

"It's OK to pull up a member of staff on their appearance if you genuinely believe that they're breaking their contract in any way, or even if it poses some sort of health & safety risk, but you just can't tell women to change their appearance because they're possibly going to be distracting to their male colleagues. That's outrageous."