Gearing up for the IT workplace

More than 75 per cent of Australia's IT&T professionals shy away from formal business attire in the workplace, according to the results of a recent online survey.

Candle IT&T Recruitment surveyed some 1000 IT&T professionals on what dress code best matches their current place of work and found 50 per cent of participants answered that their employer only demanded 'smart casual' attire.

A further 25.5 per cent of respondents answered that their dress code could best be described as 'relaxed' (cargos and a t-shirt).

The remaining 24.5 per cent of responses answered that formal attire such as suits were the only choice with their current employer.

Mike Bryan, NSW operations manager, Candle IT&T Recruitment, said that the results of the survey were somewhat surprising.

Bryan said at the height of the dotcom era last year casual attire was very much the 'order of the day', with many startups striving for a company culture far removed from the formalities of typical corporate Australia. Bryan said he had expected this trend to "tailor off a little" as a result of the dotcom crash. However, the results indicate that casual work attire in the IT industry is still very much the order of the day.

"Ten years ago candidates and contractors always wore a suit and tie to attend interviews at Candle, nowadays we're far more likely to see IT professionals coming to interviews in smart casual or jeans and a t-shirt. The main factors which will determine whether the casual trend continues will be an employer's need to establish standards and employee attitudes," Bryan said.

Bryan said the dotcom era definitely gave impetus to additional employee benefits such as relaxed attire, and added that looking ahead, IT employers now need to make a decision whether to continue heading down that path.

"A lot depends on their unique business culture and the market sector in which they operate. However, as employers seek to appoint the hottest talent available, dress code decisions will obviously need to be carefully balanced with what's attractive to employees. If employees demand casual attire and apply that criteria in their selection of employer, then the trend will surely continue," Bryan said.

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