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Men in retail more likely to be scrutinised for appearance at work

Men who work in retail jobs are more likely to be scrutinised for their appearance than women, according to new data.

Research from job search website CV-Library found 21.4% of retail employees have to follow gender-specific rules at work, despite 61.9% agreeing that these rules are sexist.

The study of 1,100 professionals explored gender-specific rules in UK workplaces with respondents revealing the ones which were enforced in their place of work. It was concluded that the majority of these rules were aimed at the appearance of male employees.

The most common gender-specific rules in retail include men not being allowed to have long hair (33.3%), men not being allowed to wear jewellery (22.2%) and men not being allowed to have piercings (22.2%). For women, 11.1% said they had to wear heels while 10% said they weren’t allowed to wear trousers.

The study also asked retail professionals about diversity in their workplace and found that 38% don’t consider their workplace to be diverse. Furthermore, gender equality at work is important to 84.6% of retail professionals, with 46.8% revealing that they take this into consideration when job hunting.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said: “While there’s been a flood of media stories around equality in the workplace, especially in terms of the gender pay gap, it’s important that all forms of sexism are challenged. We often hear about women being judged on their appearance at the hiring stage, but our data suggests that male employees are more likely to face these problems in the workplace.

“Employers in the retail sector should make sure that any rules they enforce are fair and justified. Above all, they need to remember that rules should apply to all employees. Plus, while dress codes are understandable, they should also be flexible.”

He added: “It’s good to see that diversity is important to retail workers and that they’re thinking about issues such as gender equality when job hunting. If you’re an employer, it’s in your best interest to make sure that your company embraces diversity, if you hope to attract talented candidates.”

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