Report: Navigating hair & clothing codes in the workplace

Posted on September 5, 2023

As we enter the busy post-summer recruitment period, this new research report on unwritten codes around hair & clothing from Creative Access and Red Consultancy shows how important it is for employers to provide clear guidance to candidates on all aspects of the recruitment process, including what to wear. Navigating vague or confusing dress codes or no dress code at all is adding an extra layer of unnecessary anxiety and our research shows is particularly impacting those from under-represented groups. The bottom line? Clear and inclusive practices benefit everyone, especially when:

  • 59% of Black candidates worry ‘dressing like themselves’ or wearing their hair ‘naturally’ will result in discrimination at work
  • Half (43%) of respondents said they have never received guidance on what to wear for a job interview or when starting a new job
  • 59% of neurodivergent individuals stated they would find it difficult to navigate what to wear/how to style their hair without guidance for an interview

Over 2,000 people were surveyed by Creative Access on their experiences in interviews and the workplace to explore the experiences of different ethnicities and socio-economic groups.

Based on those findings, Creative Access has outlined how those in influential hiring or people management positions can communicate any expectations clearly & inclusively about how to style or present yourself, and in some cases check their own biases at the door.

Read the full report & guidance here