In a new study published in the latest journal of Evolution and Human Behaviour, individuals with clear, English deep-voices are more likely to achieve higher positions within a company, make $187,000 a year more than those with higher or stronger non-English accents, and they were found to have held their positions for longer than their non-native associates. So, it turns out it’s not what you say, but how you say it.
The research, led by professor William Mayew of Duke’s University’s business school, found that despite nationality, there was a strong reoccurrence of English pronunciation being a significant factor in how an individual’s authority and respect is decided upon by others. Judging others based on their accents is often done subconsciously, and given that the corporate world is so full of examples of deep voices and refined tones, that we don’t notice anything out of place until we hear it. Prime Minister Julia Gillard for example, has faced significant ridicule for her pronunciation, tone and accent. After a tour in America where school children asked her if locals speak English is Australia, she decided to undergo English pronunciation courses, which unsurprisingly to the study, her approval ratings rose significantly.
Professionals with English is a second language are beginning to take pronunciation courses online in hopes of being taken more seriously within their career. In a survey by Personnel Today, 84% of respondents trusted a statement when it was spoken in an American accent, yet only 11% believed the statement if it was spoken in a Scouse accent. Studies have continuously found similar findings that all end with the same conclusions of English accents have the most likely chance of being seen as responsible, professional, and worthy of higher positions.
While qualification should be based on factors that have nothing to do with pronunciation, given that it makes such a large impact on others subconsciously, it can be rewarding to business individuals who choose to work on this aspect of their professional career.