Have you neutralised your accent for work reasons?
Having a strong regional accent in the UK isn’t unusual. But for some, an accent can lead to assumptions about class, education and even your ability to do your job.
In March, a woman from Cardiff posted her post-interview rejection letter that said she wasn’t chosen for the role because her “strong Welsh accent … would not suit the office environment”.
A University of York study in 2019 into regional accents focused on lawyers to find out if an accent can count against you in getting a job at a law firm. The conclusion was that accent bias is still pervasive, with working-class and ethnic accents rated lowest and “standard” middle-class speech the most prestigious.
But the study also found that lawyers and legal recruiters could suppress accent bias when evaluating job candidates.
There is no one way that a lawyer should sound. Diversity comes in many forms, and merit should overrule any snobbish opinion on how someone speaks. We should celebrate the variety of accents we have, not make people feel they should change how they speak to fit in.
Written by Jason Connolly