August 4, 2010 / 10:29 AM / in 9 years

Europeans dress most casually for work, Indians smartest

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Wearing shorts to work in Hungary might not merit a second glance but in India you are likely to be deemed a slacker who won’t make senior management, according to a global Reuters/Ipsos poll on business attire.

People are silhouetted at Canary Wharf business district in London in a file photo. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A survey of about 12,500 people in 24 countries found that Europeans are the most casual when it comes to work clothes with only 27 percent wearing a business suit or smart clothes to work.

Hungary came bottom of the table with only 12 percent of workers saying they wore a suit or smart dress to work.

Among Hungarian workers, 46 percent said it was appropriate to wear shorts to work while 56 percent approved of thong sandals or flip-flops at work.

Indians were found to be the smartest when it came to work attire with 58 percent donning a suit or other smart clothing for work. Only 21 percent said it was fine to wear shorts.

Overall only 21 percent of workers said it was appropriate to wear thong sandals to work and just 24 percent approved of wearing shorts to work.

“It’s clear that around the world dressing to your place in the hierarchy is more often the case than dressing to the elements,” said John Wright, a senior vice president at market research company Ipsos.

For while four out of 10 workers wore casual clothes to work, the same amount — four out of 10 — said casual wear workers would never make it into senior management in their workplace.

The poll found that 66 percent of workers said senior managers that ran an organization should always be more dressed up than their employees.

Indians particularly did not see casual dressers rising up the ranks, with 64 percent saying they would not make senior management and 58 percent describing casual dressers as slackers.

India was followed by Saudi Arabia where 51 percent ruled out casual dressers making senior management with France coming third at 45 percent.

Swedes were the most relaxed when it came to bosses wearing casual clothes. Only 27 percent said casual dressing would be a bar to entering senior management.

Editing by Belinda Goldsmith

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