It also reveals one in 10 female workers feel their employer has unfairly criticised their appearance in the workplace, with one in five saying they felt more attention was paid to their appearance by their bosses than to their male peers.
Shockingly, one in 20 women have been told by bosses they preferred them to wear more make up in the office or with clients, because it made them “more appealing”.
Many revealed they had been told to dress more provocatively – with almost 90% of those who had been pressured to dress ‘sexier’ feeling their career might suffer if they didn’t comply.
Even those that have never been asked to wear more revealing outfits admit that if someone more senior asked them to dress more provocatively they would consider doing so (12%).
Men were also aware of the disparity, with almost half saying they felt like the dress code was more lax for them than their female colleagues and they were able to get away with much more.
The new study was commissioned by employment law experts Slater and Gordon, who surveyed 2,000 employees, following a rise in the number of clients referencing comments made by their employers about their appearance.
UK employment law, as it stands, allows employers to treat men and women differently in relation to dress codes. What they cannot do is treat one person less favourably because of their gender.