Does It Pay To Be Pretty?


Is it possible that an employer would be more generous in terms of salary with an attractive individual versus an unattractive one?  Is our society more superficial than we think?  Believe it or not, studies have shown that attractive people are usually hired quicker, offered promotions sooner and paid more than less attractive workers. You’re not going to find “seeking good looking candidate” on a job posting but, based on these findings, an employee’s skill set might not be the only thing on the list of requirements.

According to research in an article provided by the WSJ Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas in Austin and author of “Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful,” attractive people are likely to earn an average of 3 percent to 4 percent more than a person with “below-average” looks. That adds up to $230,000 more over a lifetime for the typical “good-looking” person, Dr. Hamermesh estimates. Even an average-looking worker is likely to make $140,000 more over a lifetime than a less attractive counterpart.

It’s challenging to achieve success while “looking the part,” but for women this proves to be more challenging than for men.  In a prestigious role, men have a tendency to dodge a lot of the criticism in terms of appearance in comparison to women.  For example, its frowned upon when a female executive is overweight, but a male could slip by without even being noticed, much less criticized.

In a recent article provided by The Broad Side, How Far Can You “Lean In” if You’re Not Pretty? explained,the penalty for unattractiveness is much, much harsher than it used to be. A century ago, when most career doors were closed to women, pervasive gender discrimination was a kind of shield against the harsh judgments of the bathroom mirror, but that’s no longer true. Some things, like bad skin, you can cover up; some things, like extra pounds, you cannot. Stunning beauty is, by itself, no longer a requirement for female success in a narrow range of fields (actress, opera singer, society hostess). But 99.9 percent of the time, unattractiveness is, by itself, an absolute disqualifier for high visibility in almost any career, if you’re a woman.”

Obtaining the proper skill set, training and outstanding work ethic are three key elements that employers are seeking from a potential employee.  However, surprisingly enough these three components may not be convincing enough for an employer to look your way.  Take some time to refine your look because the old adage, “beauty is only skin-deep” maybe far from the truth when regarding your career outlook.

About TRC Staffing Services, Inc.

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