British Dress Code

Traditional dark grey and dark blue suits are less in evidence than in the past – except for sectors such as the law, banking and finance.

If suits are worn white, blue or pink shirts and reasonably sober ties are typical. In the more senior circles in the City, men will often wear cufflinks.

Women in management positions often mirror male attire in so far as dark suits and blouses are worn – with little in the way of more flamboyant accessories being seen.

There has, however, been a recent move away from this sober, formal appearance and many organisations have introduced a dress down policy which allows employees to wear smart casual, as long as there are no clients to be met on that day. Smart casual is difficult to describe but still tends to be on the conservative side.

The climate in the UK can be very rainy, so it is always a good idea to carry a raincoat and/or an umbrella when visiting.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Great Britain

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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The United Kingdom remains one of the largest, most competitive markets in the world. It is a global centre of excellence across a wide range of business sectors as well as being a world-leader in higher education. The City of London, along with New York, continues to dominate international finance and UK-based legal firms retain their pre-eminence as global players.

Despite these massive positive factors, the UK faces a number of challenges going forward. How will the UK cope with a post-Brexit world as it navigates its way through the Brexit negotiations and looks to forge new partnerships outside it traditional markets within the EU? Will the UK be able to improve its notoriously poor productivity levels and will the City of London be able to retain its leadership role in global finance?

All of these questions will be answered in the coming decade but in the intervening period the UK remains open for business and the prospects for doing successful business in the UK remain positive. The UK actively seeks overseas companies who see the country as an attractive market and world-class incentives are in place to help you take advantage of a sophisticated consumer base and a highly educated workforce.

If you are considering doing business in the UK, you need to consider the cultural issues you are likely to encounter. Put simply, the British are quick to take offence. Your communication style might be viewed as aggressive, when you thought you were merely being helpfully direct or your negotiating style could appear confrontational when you thought you were offering useful alternatives. Study the UK approach to business in advance – it will pay dividends.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of business culture in the UK in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips