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How Will Company Dress Codes Change In The Future?

If you were in the workforce more than a decade ago, you’ve probably already noticed a dramatic shift in the way companies are setting their dress codes. Skirts, slacks, and suits are being replaced by hoodies, flip-flops, and people riding around on their personal hoverboards. Essentially, the modern workplace is shifting to a more casual environment. And I have a hunch it’s going to continue on this path.

To help back that theory up, let’s look to PayScale’s own analysis of office dress code trends using data from over 34,000 workers across the U.S.

The Current Lay Of The Land

PayScale data shows a strong trend of companies becoming more open to the idea of casual dress instead of formal business attire. We predict that in the future, dress codes for most industries will be casual, with only a small percentage of companies requiring formal dress codes. In terms of individuality, facial hair is the most accepted form of self-expression in the workplace, while facial piercings are the most discouraged. Based on our own data, here are some assumptions we have about the future of the office dress code.

Industries That Will (Still) Have Work Uniforms In The Future

Most of these industries have one thing in common; they’re industries that have been around a really long time. With that said, these industries are rather traditional and not even time will inspire a drastic change. These industries have dress codes that are both traditional and functional for each job. We’ve also provided the percentage of workers who reported specific/strict work uniforms.

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  • Veterinary Services78%
  • Dental Services68.9%
  • Security Guard and Patrol Services67.9%
  • Casino Hotels61.9%

Industries That Are Moving To Casual Dress Codes

When we say casual, think Mark Zuckerberg. Basically, anything goes — within reason. When looking at this portion of the data, we expect to see certain industries populate this list. For example, breweries, electronic shopping, graphic design, and internet publishing all top the list of casual dress codes. But some industries are creeping up the list in terms of allowing workers to wear whatever they want to work. And it’s likely that these numbers will continue to increase rather than decrease over time.

  • Advertising Agencies74.2%
  • Sign Manufacturing77.8%
  • Surveying and Mapping Services78.3%
  • Wood Kitchen Cabinet and Countertop Manufacturing81%

Industries That Will (Probably) Always Have Formal Dress Codes

Business formal attire is still a very real thing, even in a business world leaning towards a more casual atmosphere. On the flip side, if you really hate wearing a suit, tie, or skirt-suits, you may want to avoid these industries all together. Spoiler alert: most of these are in finance.

  • Funeral Services77.8%
  • Portfolio Management38.9%
  • Commercial Banking36.6%
  • Investment Advice22%
In the future, dress codes for most industries will be casual – with a few exceptions. Click To Tweet

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have expectations for the professional dress codes of the future? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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