Still bias against the Essex accent

People who talk with an Essex twang are more likely to experience bias, a study has found.

The study by Queen Mary University of London has found there is an “enduring hierarchy of accents” in the UK.

It compared current attitudes to accents with those shown by surveys 15 and 50 years ago.

Attitudes to different accents and their stereotypes had remained largely unchanged.

The research examined if people were biased positively or negatively towards different accents and whether that affected a person’s judgment in a professional setting.

The study found people older than 40 were more likely than those in their 20s to judge job candidates as less employable if they spoke with regional working-class accents even though they were equally qualified.

Erez Levon, professor of sociolinguistics, said: “Accent bias exists. We all have automatic associations with particular voices.

“Bias becomes discrimination when we allow these associations to govern our judgment of unrelated traits such as intelligence or competence.”