Do good looking people get better jobs?
15th June 2015
It’s surely no coincidence that TV meteorologists around the world tend to be stunningly good looking, as though superhuman beauty and perfect teeth are essential for telling us if we need to apply sun cream or if we had better take an umbrella out with us. The “weather girl” role is undeniably one in which a person’s aesthetics are the unwritten criteria for selection and this raises the question, do good looking people get better jobs?
It would make sense that the answer to the question “do good looking people get better jobs” should be no. It would make sense that your physical appearance would have no impact on your ability to carry out a job role, however a report from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex points to very different findings.
The report by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex details a study in which photos of 8,000 people who had left school in 1957 were rated according to their looks. When the results from this weighting was correlated against the school leavers careers it was found those rated as being better looking had better jobs and higher earnings, with the better looking school leavers receiving 4% more per annum on average.
The findings of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex corroborates a similar study carried out by Daniel Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas called Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful.
Those looking for a new job and wondering do good looking people get better jobs should think about how they can improve their physical appeal to maximise their potential, however as an HR professional it’s important to recognise that you will naturally favour those people you find more attractive. In an interview environment this could mean a less capable candidate being favoured over a more suitable interviewee based on appearance.
Although there are a number of studies that try to answer age old the question do good looking people get better jobs, these are very subjective studies, heavily reliant on qualitative and potentially unreliable datasets.
It’s important that employers and HR professionals recognise that they may be naturally inclined to favour more physically appealing employees and potential employees., and compensate for this propensity, reviewing decisions and documenting the rationale behind decision making.
Do you think that good looking people get better jobs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.