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I recently came across an interesting article. The employment agency Randstad US conducted a study on the subject of dress codes at work. Amongst other things, they looked into how many people would take 5000 dollars extra over a casual dress code.
In the period from June 24th to July 1st, 2019, 1204 people were surveyed. It was based on employees 18 years and above, both male and female, located in different US states. Most of the respondents (33%) have a casual dress code at work, followed by business casual (26%). 20% of employees have no dress code for work, leaving 21% with a somewhat formal dress code.
Randstad wanted to find out how much a casual dress code influences a person when they are choosing a function. The research found that 33% of respondents would prefer a casual dress code over earning 5000 dollars more. The tricky thing is the press release did not state whether this is an extra 5000 dollars per month or per year. Given the amount, I think it is safe to assume it is 5000 dollars annually.
And in the Netherlands?
The numbers piqued my curiosity. Would it be the same here? I decided to do a poll on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram stories. I converted the amount from 5000 dollars to euros, which is euro 4500. I asked what people would choose: earning euro 4500 more per year or a casual dress code. Unfortunately, these polls only stay active for a couple of days, and on Instagram stories, they are removed after only 24 hours. This is a pity as otherwise, I would have been able to collect more votes.
In total 142 people voted. Of these voters, 83% would prefer the higher salary, and only 17% voted for a casual dress code. There was no difference between those who voted on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The percentage of voters who opted for the money or casual dress code was the same across all platforms.
The United States versus The Netherlands
The results of my small-scale survey are totally different from Randstad in the US. In mine, 17% preferred a casual dress code, and for Randstad, it was 33%. Putting the difference in the size of the survey aside, Randstad surveyed 1204 people and I 142, the results are miles apart. I asked the question to my readers. As I write about workwear and business dress codes, this is a subject my readers are interested in. So, the only similarity I see between the target groups is the age group. My readers are not limited to people of one age group, people of all ages read my blog.
Costs of a formal dress code
In addition to posting the poll on social media, I also discussed this question with people around me. What reasons would people have for choosing one above the other? After a few conversations, I got the impression that the people who chose a casual dress code did so because this is what they wear for work. Even with the chance to earn more money, being able to dress in casual clothes is more appealing.
When I asked my husband, he also picked the casual dress code. This is the current style of dress code in the hardware wholesale business where he works. He calculated that 4500 euros more per year works out at about 375 euros per month, and in his reasoning, you would spend a large portion of this on formal clothes such as suits. I pointed out that not all of the 375 euros would need to be spent on formal clothes, but it was still not enough of a reason to motivate him to go for the higher pay packet.
On the other hand, a girlfriend of mine who works as an immigration lawyer chose the money. While her employer does not expect her to turn up to the office in a suit every day, the dress code is still formal. Jeans, for example, are out of the question. And even though she loves to wear casual clothes in her free time, she is used to dressing up for work. For her, it is the norm, so it makes sense she would take the higher salary.
If I were to work for an employer, I would also take the money. I had to giggle when one of my readers who replied to the poll wrote “I have very little with casual clothes, I am usually overdressed, and I love it”. It’s the same for me. I am often overdressed, and I like it that way. In the building where I work there are about 80 -90 other companies, I turn up every day in semi-formal clothes while the others are dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Absolutely fine for me.
What would you choose? A casual dress code or a salary increase of 4500?