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Young Australians want modern uniforms

Young Australians want an attractive uniform when applying for a job, new research finds

OCTOBER 11, 2018

YOUNG Australians are applying for jobs — but the one thing that will get some of them even more interested in a role is a good looking uniform. New data compiled by YouGov Galaxy has found that 25 per cent of 18-24 year olds would only apply for a job at a business with an attractive uniform.

The research, conducted among more than 1000 Australians in full and part time work, also found that 16 per cent of men would only apply for a job if the company had a modern and stylish uniform, compared to 10 per cent of women. Overall, 93 per cent of Australians said it reflects well on a company if staff wear smart uniforms.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the youth unemployment rate in Australia has increased to 11.70 per cent in August from 11.10 per cent in July this year. Uni student Alex Corry, 21, from Glen Iris in Melbourne, has been working for 14 months as part of front of house staff for corporate events company The Big Group.

Having previously worked as a flight attendant, Ms Corry told News Corp Australia that her current uniform, a shirt dress, appealed to her when she first applied for the job. “I saw the uniform beforehand when I was first applying and I saw all of the tagged photos on Instagram before I checked the website that also has photos of staff on it,” she said. “They all looked happy and stylish and really confident. “I really liked it. If a job had a uniform that wasn’t comfortable or was too tight I wouldn’t apply and wouldn’t want to go to work if I felt that way.” Alex Corry, 21, from Victoria, doesn't think of her work uniform as a uniform.

“It is more comfortable, flattering and more practical for the job as it has pockets and looks good and works well with what we are doing,” she said. “It’s not too short, revealing or tight, it’s good to wear when we work pretty hard and long hours at events including weddings, birthdays and bigger things like the AFL Grand Final and the marquees at the races at Flemington.” Ms Corry said she wasn’t surprised when she saw the survey stats that many young people wouldn’t apply for a job if they thought the uniform wasn’t appealing to wear. “For myself I want something comfortable and looks good, you don’t want to wear something that looks horrible at work,” she said. “Most people would feel that way. I’d take a selfie in the uniform I wear.

“The other thing I like about our uniform is they make us look like a team and many of my friends that works in cafes wear own clothes but it’s not all that obvious they’re apart of a team. Our uniform creates a comraderie among all of us.” Ms Corry did not find the flight attendant uniform as comfortable.

Ms Lewis works as part of the wait staff at the Poolside Cafe near Sydney’s Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool. “I’ve worked in bars, cafes, restaurants you name it — mt pervious uniforms have been uncomfortable or the fabric doesn't breathe, and in doing long hours you just can’t wait to get the uniform off at home,” she said. “I had seen this uniform when I was on trial, and it got to wear it. it was definitely a factor in my decision to take the job. “I think for younger people if it’s unattractive it’s a factor for them to not take a job. But it’s not so much about looking cool for me as much as it is about being uncomfortable.”

Cargo Crew’s co-founder Felicity Rodgers who commissioned the YouGov Galaxy research, told News Corp she started her uniform company in Melbourne when companies were keen to design bespoke uniforms 16 years ago.

Now, she ships a range of trendy corporate uniforms to 62 countries around the world. Ms Rodgers’ uniforms have caught the eye of celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow  and have been used on MasterChef Australia, The Great Australian Bake Off and by other companies like Nandos, Four Pillars, Dulux and Freedom

In New York City, staff at Grand Central Terminal’s Great Northern Food Hall also wear her uniforms. “We think a uniform has a really important role to play in making people feel valued and happy at work. It needs to stretch and have movement,” she said. “If they [companies] want attract people from this group, they should have a stylish uniform.

“There’s a missed opportunity if they [companies] don’t invest in a quality uniform that staff like and customers like.”

“While it’s a cost to a business, a lot of people prefer to wear a uniform and with so much competition for online shopping, the offline experience is more important than ever for businesses.” However, Lee Sunlay, Manager of Coaching at TwoPointZero, a national career guidance service for young people, disagrees. “Uniform is not generally a factor that the graduates and young professionals we work with raise as a reason for not applying for a role,” she said. “Whereas, company culture, flexibility and work-life balance tend to be drivers for applying or not applying to a position or organisation.

Uniform definitely plays a part in a company’s culture and image, as it creates an impression of the company on an applicant.” But Ms Sunlay said that young people in the 15-18 year-old age bracket are more likely to consider uniform as a deciding factor as they often are applying for roles in the retail or FMCG industries, which have more defined uniform policies.

“Some people will appreciate the sense of belonging and ease of having a uniform, while others will find it inhibits their creativity and expression,” she said. “Therefore, it’s really about an individual understanding what’s important to them. They need to decide what business aligns with their values and provides the kind of culture they work best in. There isn’t really a right or wrong answer.”

Credit: Shoba Rao, News Corp Australia Network, 12 October, 2018 7:00am