Swear words, colorful language, expletives, curse words, profanity and bleeped out/ censored words. There are plenty of ways to say the words you’re not supposed to say. But if swear words are in regular rotation in your work vocabulary, consider passing on the expletives or you may be passed over for a promotion.
A new CareerBuilder survey finds that 64 percent of employers say they’d think less of an employee who repeatedly uses curse words, and 57 percent of employers say they’d be less likely to promote someone who swears in the office. More than 2,000 hiring managers and 3,800 workers across industries and company sizes nationwide were surveyed, and their response was loud and clear: Swearing at work is unprofessional and creates a negative impression of the offender.
Swear words and work culture
Whether the glass is half full or half empty at work, half of workers (51 percent) reported that they swear in the office. Ninety-five percent of those workers said they do so in front of their co-workers, and 51 percent swear in front of the boss. However, workers were the least likely to use expletives in front of senior leaders (13 percent) and their clients (7 percent).
Despite the large number of offenders, employers aren’t so understanding of employees’ use of profanities. Eighty-one percent of employers believe that the use of swear words brings the employee’s professionalism into question, 71 percent believe swearing indicates a lack of control, 68 percent say there’s a lack of maturity and 54 percent say swearing at work makes an employee appear less intelligent.
However, while most employers judge workers who swear, they aren’t so innocent themselves. Twenty-five percent of employers admit to swearing at their employees. Could censor-worthy employers be a bad influence? Nearly the same amount of employees (28 percent) say they’ve sworn at co-workers.
Cities most likely to swear
Maybe it’s because it’s an election year, maybe it’s Denver’s wildfires or maybe it’s Chicago’s frustration with baseball, but the top three cities whose workers report swearing at work need to find new ways to vent. Here’s the full list of swear-word loving cities:
1. Washington D.C. – 62 percent
2. Denver – 60 percent
3. Chicago – 58 percent
4. Los Angeles – 56 percent
5. Boston – 56 percent
6. Atlanta – 54 percent
7. Minneapolis – 50 percent
8. Phoenix – 47 percent
9. New York – 46 percent
10. Philadelphia – 44 percent
Swearing by age
The millennial generation and baby boomers are the least likely to swear at work when comparing age groups, while Generation X workers report that they’re more likely to swear while on the job.
- Employees ages 18-24: 42 percent say they swear at work
- Employees ages 25-34: 51 percent say they swear at work
- Employees ages 35-44: 58 percent say they swear at work
- Employees ages 45-54: 41 percent say they swear at work
- Employees ages 55 and over: 44 percent say they swear at work