Modis Press Room

Modis Geek Pride Day Survey Reveals Majority of Americans Believe Being Called a "Geek" is a Compliment

Geeks are "in", jocks are "out"

Jacksonville, FL (May 23, 2011) – Geeks across America have a lot to celebrate on May 25, National Geek Pride Day. Long gone are the days when the title of “geek” carried with it a negative connotation. Today, some may argue it is in fact “chic to be geek,” as a majority (57 percent) of Americans believe being called a geek is actually a compliment, according to a survey by Modis , a leading provider of information technology staffing.

Modis’ survey, an omnibus conducted in honor of Geek Pride Day by Opinion Research Corporation, supports the fact that there has been a cultural shift in the way Americans perceive geeks. Today, Americans most closely associate the term “geek” with favorable attributes such as being extremely intelligent (45 percent), a reliable source for technology advice (56 percent) and a first adopter of technology (45 percent). But perhaps one of the most interesting findings that supports this point – and also puts high school stereotypes to rest – is nearly twice as many Americans today would prefer to be called a “geek” (41 percent) rather than a “jock” (22 percent).

With all of these positive attributes associated with geeks, who wouldn’t want to be called a geek today? It turns out – older generations. Two-thirds (66 percent) of Millennials (respondents aged 18-34) think being identified as a “geek” is a compliment, while only 39 percent of respondents aged 65 and older agree. The cultural shift in the way Americans perceive geeks is further evidenced by the findings that eight out of 10 (82 percent) respondents feel it is more acceptable to be a geek today than it was 15 years ago.

“It might be Americans’ increasing dependence on and comfort with technology or the prevalent images of former ’geeks’ who now successfully lead multi-billion dollar technology companies, but being a geek has gone mainstream, said Jack Cullen, president of Modis. “In fact 65 percent of Americans think that everyone is a geek about something. So on Geek Pride Day, we want to celebrate the innovation and advancements geeks have made to our everyday life.”

Additional findings from Modis’ Geek Pride Day survey include:

  • Proud to Be a Geek! Nearly one-fifth (17 percent) of Americans self-identify as a geek.
  • Geeks Are Shaping Technology through Their Work. Geeks are typically associated with being well-suited for IT or technology industries. Survey respondents felt the professional fields geeks are best-suited for include video game designer (65 percent), technology engineer (50 percent) and professional blogger (37 percent).
  • Who Are You Calling a Nerd? The terms “nerd” and “geek” are not interchangeable. The survey showed Americans are much more wary of being called a “nerd” than a “geek” – even geeks agree! A majority (87 percent) of self-identified geeks were more comfortable being labeled a geek than a nerd (61 percent).
  • Information Technology Appreciated in the Workplace. When asked which department at work is most valuable to them, 16 percent of employed Americans said IT – comparable to the 17 percent that said marketing and 18 percent that said accounting. Human resources slightly outweighed other divisions – likely because of the personal nature of the function - with 25 percent of Americans valuing it most.

“Our study supports the fact that geeks may be the best fit for technology-related jobs given they tend to be first-adopters of technology and a common ‘go-to’ person for tech advice,” said Cullen. “For IT geeks who may be in the job market, it’s important to remember that the majority of Americans want their IT professionals to not only be knowledgeable about technology, but to be able to explain it in layman’s terms. That may seem simple or even obvious, but it’s the real-world value that geeks bring to today’s workplace.”

About Modis
Modis is a global provider of information technology staffing services and the second largest in North America. As the most dynamic IT recruitment specialists in the world, Modis connects leading companies in virtually every industry with top IT professionals for both temporary and permanent assignments. With keen industry insight, tenacity and unmatched depth of expertise, Modis understands the world of IT and the people who practice it. It is this understanding that empowers Modis to help both clients and candidates make exceptional connections in today’s complex world of technology. As of January 2011, Modis has joined forces with Ajilon Consulting to create a true powerhouse in the field of IT staffing, offering the most expansive talent base, branch network and global reach available in today’s workforce. For additional information, please visit .

This survey was conducted via telephone within the United States by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Modis from May 4 – May 8, 2011 among 1,000 American adults ages 18 and older. Survey results have a margin of error +/- 3.1% for this sample size.

Ryoko Ono
Director, Public Relations
Adecco Group North America