In the UK software engineering industry, how common is it to find a business with an open or casual dress code? What is the norm in these businesses?

I'm currently job hunting and finding that most often the dress code is business casual (or smarter/more formal)*. My last job, however, had a casual dress code, outside of meeting with clients, so I'm now wondering how common that is.

*I don't ask about dress code, but about office culture and the answers tend to end up including dress code.

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    I've had two jobs where the dress code was very strict: "you must come to work dressed." – Blrfl Apr 13 '13 at 14:30
  • You can probably find this out from simple questions on Linked-In if you really care about it prior to interviewing/etc. – enderland Apr 14 '13 at 12:47
  • UK software industry is getting a little narrow in scope for a huge percentage of users on this site. – user8365 Apr 14 '13 at 15:16
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    @JeffO: I realise it's particularly specific, but the question is workplace related and the answers I imagine vary by country. The narrowing of scope for the question was intentional, but does sadly limit the number of potential answerers. – Andy Hunt Apr 14 '13 at 16:58
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    @JeffO I realise it could easily be a survey-type question, which is why I've narrowed the scope. – Andy Hunt Apr 15 '13 at 14:02

There are a few answers to this:

In the finance industry, wherever you are, casual dress codes are very rare. So if you're overvaluing yourself, and agents are putting you forward to finance companies to account for that, this could explain it.

Outside of London, in large businesses, it is fairly rare. Sadly, in the current economy, large businesses are all that's hiring. So your location may be relevant.

In London (where attitudes are more relaxed and the recession has barely hit the tech industry), or in smaller businesses everywhere, it's pretty common. Since I moved to London, from the midlands, I've had several (successful) interviews in t-shirts and jeans.

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    I'm in the US, so I can't speak to this question. But it did occur to me that it would be nice to be able to look up a company and see how employees rate them on culture and dress code. There's and app/site worth creating. – Xenson Apr 15 '13 at 17:28
  • remember that dress codes can change radically over time as well... Worked for one company where things were very casual (most people in summer came in shorts, T-shirts and flip flops or similar) until one day we were told that from next week we had to wear suit and tie at all times (including instructions about colours, down to the colour of socks and underwear). – jwenting Apr 16 '13 at 6:22
  • @jwenting: I would suggest that's pretty rare. Particularly becoming more strict. What was the catalyst for that? – pdr Apr 16 '13 at 8:34
  • @pdr company got bought out by another one in another country with a far stricter corporate dress code, which they decided to apply to us cold turkey without any transition period or consideration for the different cultures or compensation systems (they expected everyone to buy 3-4 suits over the weekend, that's several thousand Euros, a monthly salary for some of our people there). – jwenting Apr 16 '13 at 8:38

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