• Career Center

    Letting Employees Wear Jeans Might Help Solve Your Talent Problem

    By | January 13, 2017

    Last year around this time, we were dawning on the era of denim in the accounting profession. It started with Baker Tilly, picked up steam with Crowe Horwath, faced some backlash and then finally hit the mainstream in the spring when PwC went all in

    I'm sure there's a number of people out there that would rather set their framed CPA certificates on fire than allow anyone to wear jeans at the office, but there's something you denim-haters should know — it could help, at least in part, solve your talent problem.

    A recent survey from CareerBuilder found that more than one in five workers are planning to change jobs in 2017. This number is even higher for workers aged 18 to 34, around 35%, plan to find a new job. That's precisely the age demo of employees that accounting firms are desperate to hang on to.

    They're especially desperate because it's become extremely hard to fill the holes left behind by young CPAs who seek more money, a better quality life or looking for something that's NOT accounting.

    So for those firms that are trying to stem the tide going out, the survey shared some insights on what would keep the respondents in a job:

    When asked what extra perks would make them more willing to join or stay with a company, the most popular choices workers pointed to include:

    • Half-day Fridays: 40 percent
    • On-site fitness center: 27 percent
    • Being able to wear jeans: 23 percent
    • Daily catered lunches: 22 percent
    • My own office: 22 percent

    Alright, since busy season is upon us, I doubt many firms would go for the half-day Fridays. An on-site fitness center might not be feasible for a lot firms and we’ve already established that free food only goes so far, especially during busy season. And since we even have to have this conversation, I'm sure giving everyone an office is out of the question. So maybe try the jeans, then?

    [CareerBuilder via CGMA]

    Image: iStock/Szepy

    • Big4Veteran

      You can polish a turd, but it’s still a turd. I don’t think perks, or even more comp, do that much to reduce turnover in the long run.

      When you ask an employee what the company could do to make them want to stay, they will blurt something out…because they have to say something. They can’t say “I don’t know.”

      • BKGreed

        I love this. Like wearing jeans is going to make any difference when the slaves are working 70 or 80 hours a week. The “management” at BKGreed actually had a policy of business casual on Saturday mornings, but finally allowed jeans the last few Saturdays in a busy season. Talk about one of the most over-rated “benefits” firms could offer!!!!

        • The Horniest Partner

          Was bus casual on Saturdays a specific office policy? When I was there (long time ago) it was jeans on Saturdays.

      • Adam Hill

        I’m with you on this one. One would think the people that hang this as a big perk are probably the best employees with the most potential too. Just ask them……….

    • “More than one in five workers are planning to change jobs in 2017”.

      At the end of the day, work is work. Same sh1t, different day, however you gloss it up. This said, the free pizza, the Christmas Novelty Jumper Competitions, the cake bakes, break up the monotony and make work slightly more light hearted than it otherwise would be. Even for an old cudgeon like me, I can see that.

    • C2C

      I don’t wear jeans in my personal time/life…so wearing them at work is pointless to me. We have “Denim Fridays,” but I never participate.

    • Basis Adjustment

      I think the quality of work is the same regardless of what clothing you are or are not wearing. id like to hear someone tell me that they can grind out an audit/tax return better in business professional/business casual compared to jeans. I might add that wearing jeans requires less maintenance (ironing, trips to the cleaners) so employees may have more time to rest during busy season. This is a little different if you have to visit a client, however. This isn’t much of a “perk”, but I do appreciate being able to pick my slave uniform (with certain restrictions). It saves time, saves money, and doesn’t have a negative impact on the quality of my work product.

      • iamthelolrus

        I am very happy about the dress-down policy at my firm, it’s nice to be able to throw on jeans, a polo, and boat shoes in the morning instead of slacks, button down, dress shoes.

    • IndenturedServant

      23% of people said wearing jeans would be nice at work. I seriously doubt 23% of people would actually choose public accounting with jeans over an even a modest pay bump and fewer hours.

    • peakfreak

      No one perk makes or breaks a job, but the right combination can make a good job much more satisfying (or a bad job much more tolerable).

      On the flip side, “irritants” like bad coffee, stuffy dress-code, etc. can make an otherwise fine job intolerable. Perks such as the above shouldn’t be seen as ways to make employees happy, but rather as ways to prevent driving otherwise content employees out the door.

      • iamthelolrus

        I wish the big 4 would get the “flavia tastes fucking vile” memo

        • peakfreak

          They have to do something with the muck that gets cleaned up from oil-spills.

    • McValue Meal Audit

      Jeans have got to be the most overrated perk there is.

    • ImposterSyndrome

      My firm recently switched to the “jean-business” policy as long as we aren’t meeting with clients, and it has definitely improved the quality of life. Getting ready in the morning is much less hassle and I waste a lot less time on properly caring for business clothes. It seems like a small thing, but during busy season, not having to worry about waking up early or ironing your clothes saves a bit of stress and frustration.