Posted August 02, 2012 by

CIOs Say IT Workers’ Attire Becoming More Formal

Don’t think IT employees care about how they dress at work?  Think again.

Hoodies and T-shirts may be wardrobe staples in some IT departments, but chief information officers (CIOs) say moving up the career ladder often requires a little more polish. In a recent Robert Half Technology survey, more than three in four (76 percent) CIOs said the way someone dresses at least somewhat influences his or her ability to move up within the organization’s IT department. Only 22 percent said what someone wears doesn’t influence promotion potential.

CIOs were asked, “To what extent does how well someone dresses influence his or her ability to be promoted within your organization’s IT department?” Their responses:

Significantly………………………….…………………………………3%

Somewhat………………………………………………………………73%

Not at all……………………………………………………………………..  22%

Don’t know……………………..………………………………….2% 

                                                                          

Refuting the myth that IT departments are overly casual, 66 percent of CIOs polled described the dress code among tech professionals in their department as “somewhat formal,” meaning most people wear dress slacks or a skirt and a button-down shirt. In addition, when asked whether the work culture is more formal or casual than the rest of the organization, 85 percent of CIOs said the work culture in their IT department is the same:

 

CIOs also were asked, “How would you describe the dress code in your IT department?” Their responses:

Very formal (e.g., a suit and tie)………………………….………………………….………... 3%

Somewhat formal (e.g., dress slacks or a skirt and a button-down shirt).. 66%

Somewhat casual (e.g., khakis and a polo shirt or sweater)…..…………..…… 25%

Very casual (e.g., jeans and a T-shirt)………………………………………………….……… 5%

Don’t know…………………………..………………………………………………………  1% 

                                                                                          

In addition, CIOs were asked, “How formal or casual is the work culture in your IT department compared to the work culture of the rest of your organization?” Their responses:

More formal……………………………………………..……………………   4%

The same………………………………………..…………………………   85%

More casual………………………………………………….………………   10%

Don’t know……………………..……………………………………..   1% 

                                                            

“Increasingly, IT team members and managers must interact with executives across the company, the board, customers and strategic partners,” said Robert Half Technology senior executive director John Reed. “Image does matter, and you’re not likely to be taken as seriously in these interactions if you’re wearing unprofessional attire.”

Consider asking these questions to help ensure you dress for success at the office:

  • Would managers in the IT department at my company wear this? If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t wear it either.
  • Is it distracting or potentially offensive? Unless you work for a political action committee or advocacy group, shirts or accessories with political, religious or controversial messages are best left at home.
  • Is it clean and in good condition? Even in casual technology departments, clothes that are torn, wrinkled or stained should be left at home. Sloppy attire may prompt your manager to wonder how serious you are about your job.
  • Is it comfortable? Relaxed clothing is important for IT professionals, especially those spending long hours writing code, or who are in more active roles such as repairing hardware. Dress for your position, but make sure you can move comfortably.
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