Style and Beauty at the Workplace: Do Good Looking Men and Women Make More Money?
Question: Do good looking men have it better in the workplace?
Beauty is a big advantage in the bedroom, but it is also an advantage in the boardroom.
Although it does not approach racism or sexism in magnitude, lookism appears to be a form of discrimination in the workplace. And a silent one. No one thinks that has been offered a lower salary because he is short! Good-looking men are more likely to get hired at a higher salary, to be promoted faster than unattractive men – Nancy Etcoff
Despite physical limitations (height, facial features), style plays a big role in one’s stature at work. Of course, being lazy doesn’t help. Ultimately, a good work ethic and a mastery of your skill set will ensure proper and competitive employment at all times. All things being equal, the guy who looks the most masculine and in control gets the highest salary. Keep in mind that there are differences in company culture and we are speaking generally. At Google, for example, the geekiest engineer may control the higher salary.
Question: What about for hot women at work (corporate white collar)?
For women, the relation between appearance and success at work is less straight forward. Good-looking women and, like good-looking men, are more likely to be hired to receive higher salaries. But this is not always true.
A few studies show that good-looking women actually fare worse than plainer women and that looks in a woman can “backfire”. One explanation is that good-looking people of either sex get more “sex-typed”. Good-looking men look masculine and good-looking women look very feminine (physically, not in their clothes). This helps a man, who is assumed to be powerful, in the know, and independent, but it hurts women, whose appearance brings the unwanted assumption that they may be submissive and overly sexual rather than tough and decisive. However women’s looks are “read”, they don’t advertise the kind of qualities sought by management teams.
The economics of being female are never really advantageous. A good looking-woman with career aspirations may be penalised for her looks because she is assumed to be too feminine to do a highly powered job efficiently. She may be sexually harrassed by men met, and envied and left out by other women.
But it is homely women and who are truly disadvantaged economically — they are less likely to get hired or to earn competitive salaries at work. They are less likely to marry, and less likely if they do marry to marry a man with resources. These facts alone drive high consumption of beauty products. It may not always pay to look great but it pays to look average – Nancy Etcoff
I would add that this differs in places in nightclubs or bars. Hot women get tipped more, and command more attention through their looks. Strippers, waitresses, actresses and those in the entertainment industry would qualify.
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