Professional uniformsUniforms might be the newest style in...


September 09, 1991

Professional uniforms

Uniforms might be the newest style in office attire.

While uniforms are traditional among those in law enforcement, the military and service industries, professional uniforms are uncommon.

However, in some companies, uniforms are popular, practical and preferred by employees. "We look professional, and we feel good about ourselves," said Sharon Seymour, who works in the marketing department at Keesler Federal Credit Union in Biloxi, Miss., where employees have been uniformed since the early 1960s.

Professional uniforms help employees save money, and they allow employers to create a consistent image for their businesses. Most employees enjoy the durable clothes and are happy to be exempt from the fashion competitions that rage in some offices. Employers are glad they can guarantee that each employee will make a professional impression.

"That business is definitely making a comeback," said Leo Weinshel, president of The Uniform Group, an nationwide association of 15 uniform distributors.

Banks and travel agencies are showing the greatest tendency toward adopting uniforms.

Accelerating demand

Despite the recession, some high-tech jobs are hard to fill, especially those for electrical and electronic engineers and computer programmers, analysts and applications professionals.

According to the Labor Department, demand for workers who create, produce and maintain high-technology products is expected to accelerate in the coming decade. In 1987, when the Hudson Institute, in connection with the Labor Department, released its work force projections for 2000, eight of the 10 fastest-growing jobs were high tech: computer service technicians, computer systems analysts, computer programmers, computer operators, office machine repairers, electric engineers, civil engineering technicians and electronic data processing equipment operators.

But despite the fact that high technology is sweeping the workplace, the actual number of employment opportunities for those involved in producing it will not be overwhelming.

"Though high-tech jobs will be the fastest growing, you have to be careful about suggesting they will dominate the labor market," said Roberts T. Jones, the Labor Department's assistant secretary for employment and training.

As 2000 approaches, however, the much-talked-about "blurring" of high-tech and low-tech jobs -- in which it was predicted every worker would have to know how to program computers, make applications and create computer networks -- is now not so certain.

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