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Employers' Masterclass: Accents in the Workplace
Accent is not directly relevant to work outputs. To get hired, or to get ahead in your organisation, you would think that what you say - rather than how you say it - would be the most important factor.

However, in Speaking Up: Accents and social mobility, published last year by the Sutton Trust, researchers looked at accent bias throughout the life course, and highlighted how ighlighting how experiences differed by socio-economic background, which could have implications for social mobility.

With little so-called visible indicators of socio-economic background, accent has become one of the primary signals of socio-economic status in the UK - creating a hierarchy of accent prestige where the standard Received Pronunciation (RP - sometimes referred to as ‘BBC English’) is the dominant accent for those in positions of authority across the media, politics, the civil service, courtrooms, and the corporate sector.

Accent bias can have many repercussions in the workplace. It may affect hiring decisions or even promotion opportunities. The research shows that it has a devastating impact on the individuals too - producing accent anxiety or worries about their accent affecting their ability to succeed in the future.

Join us at our April masterclass to explore how you can raise awareness of the issue of accent bias in your own organisation and what steps you can take to ensure that the focus is on the knowledge and skills of the employee or candidate, and not their accent.

We’ll be joined by Professor Devyani Sharma from Queen Mary University London who co-authored the Sutton Trust research highlighted above and will share her findings of accent bias, and the implications for social mobility.

We’ll also be joined by Antoinette Willcocks from FleishmanHillard who will be discussing how they have highlighted the issue of accent bias in their organisations and what steps they have taken to drive change.

Apr 27, 2023 12:00 PM in London

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