How Your Appearance Affects Your Pay

From a purely legal standpoint, your appearance shouldn’t have any effect on your salary. But the truth of the matter is that it does and very few places have rules to protect prospective employees against such practices. Hiring managers have even said that it’s just as important to spend time and money on your appearance as it is to make sure your resume is in good order.

Height, Weight, and Looks Matter

It seems that taller people aren’t just more exalted from a physical standpoint. They also make about $789 more per year for each inch they stand above the competition. However, being overweight can be just as costly.

People with BMIs that are higher than 30 can end up losing several thousand dollars a year in pay. They are also discriminated against when it comes to being hired and getting a raise. On the other hand, people who exercise regularly earn about 9 percent more than their coworkers.

Good-looking people also tend to score big dividends as well. Being attractive can net a 5 percent increase in salary if you’re a man and 4 percent increase if you’re a woman. But being considered unattractive can set you back by around 9 percent.

Being attractive can also help when it comes to the social aspects of life. People are more attentive to good-looking people and often prefer to be around them in general. Some scientists even believe that human beings tend to be mesmerized by the good-looking members of our collective group.

The Female Paradox

Blonde women typically make 7 percent more than women with other hair colors. There’s also the fact that women who wear moderate amount of makeup to work can increase their salaries by about 30 percent. It’s probably because these individuals are viewed as being more competent and trustworthy.

Prettier women typically have an easier time finding jobs in lower level industries. However, once these same ladies have gotten far enough up the corporate ladder, their looks can be more of a stumbling block than anything else.

After all, there are downsides to being "too pretty" if you are a woman who works in a male dominated industry or have reached a certain point in your career. These females are often discriminated against because they are seen as being less intelligent than their peers, irrespective of their actual abilities.

Perhaps the silver lining here is that appearance seems to affect men’s earnings more than it does women’s. However, this could only be because it’s still seen as socially acceptable for women to stay at home if they choose to do so.

Is There Hope?

Although cosmetic surgery might seem like the obvious solution, there’s no guarantee that it will fix this sort of problem. But 13 percent of women and 10 percent of men said they would consider altering their appearance if it would improve their salaries. After all, working women in particular believed that their age and appearance were important factors when it came to being gainfully employed.

However, being a thoughtful, extroverted, and/or emotionally stable person can also pay off in the long run. Confidence and education also rank higher than appearance when it comes to hiring considerations. There’s even the fact that aspects of our appearance such as personal care and clothing selections can be improved upon.

On the other hand, there’s a new study out which states that people who are considered especially unattractive make higher salaries than ordinary looking individuals. But the validity of those findings is still up for debate.


Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt via Pixabay.

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