Good Reasons Why Beautiful People Have Higher Salaries

attractive people more successful

By Melissa Stanger


Studies have shown that attractive people are usually hired sooner, get promotions more quickly, and are paid more than their less-attractive co-workers.

Attractive people earn an average of 3 to 4 percent more than people with below-average looks, according to Daniel Hamermesh, professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin and author of the book, "Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful."

Researchers have studied the concept of beauty as a factor in a person's success over and over again, and in multiple ways. Beautiful people tend to bring in more money for their companies, and are therefore seen as more valuable employees and harder workers, according to an article in Psychology Today by Dario Maestripieri, a professor of comparative human development, evolutionary biology, and neurobiology at the University of Chicago. A door-to-door insurance salesman is better able to sell to customers who find him attractive, says Maestripieri, because the customers will be more likely to buy if they think it will increase their chances to have sex with him. Maestripieri calls this principle "the pleasure of dealing with good-looking people."

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"Good-looking people are more appealing as potential sex partners," Maestripieri says, "and [so] other people choose to interact with them, to spend time near them, talk with them, buy insurance from them, and hire them as employees."

Hamermesh, however, believes that it's not just the sex appeal that makes attractive people more successful. He writes that attractive people tend to have desirable personality traits, like higher self-confidence -- likely a direct result of their good looks-that appeal to employers.

"Beauty may just reflect self-esteem. Perhaps people's self-confidence manifests itself in their behavior, so that their looks are rated more highly, and their self-esteem makes them more desirable and higher-paid employees," he writes. "Another possibility is that beauty and the attractiveness of one's personality are positively related, and that it is the general sparkle of one's personality, not one's beauty, that increases earnings."

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Researchers at Rice University and the University of Houston also conducted a study on beauty's effect on success. They limited their study to how facial appearance affects excellence in a job interview. The study found that people with facial blemishes and "disfigurements"-birthmarks, scars, blemishes-were more likely to be rated poorly by their interviewers. The interviewers tended to recall less information about these candidates', which negatively impacted their evaluations.

"The more the interviewers attended to stigmatized features on the face, the less they remembered about the candidate's interview content, and the less memory they had about the content led to decreases in ratings of the applicant," said Juan Madera, a professor at the University of Houston and co-author of the study.

Even with the bias against the less fortunate-looking, Hamermesh says there are still ways to succeed despite one's looks. "First, don't go into an occupation where looks matter a lot," he says in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "Don't be a TV broadcaster; be a radio broadcaster. Don't be a movie actor. Most important, go into fields that you enjoy, and that you have an advantage in doing. Accentuate your strengths, and try to avoid those things where you are relatively disadvantaged."


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Carol

I have witnessed this but this is still a very complicated topic. Specifically, do they take into consideration how people present themselves? If they haven't then that will definitely turn the tables. I worked for a non-profit and we had a community service program for those that committed small crimes. Any "pretty" dolled up girls were almost immediately targeted and kept a close eye on. Most had horrible, "i'm too good for this attitudes" and couldn't work their feather weights. The same type of girls that came in as volunteers and thought their looks alone could get them somewhere learned very quickly how wrong they were. However, the most successful marketing volunteers and employees were attractive and had very good attitudes. My husband has had his share of employment in retail. He's seen attractive people sell things with just their looks. However he's had coworkers that, as he puts it: "look like they've been smacked by every branch of the ugly tree" and make great sales with reliable customers because they are friendly, charismatic, insightful, and know what the heck they are talking about. Therefore, for the rest of us, there is hope, we just have to work a little harder at it.

October 12 2012 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hog rider 883

It's a shame employers can't get past homely women like myself because I am dependable, smart, reliable, I never miss work because I'm pretty and I have a date so I have to call in. Nope, never done that. I just find cleaning jobs or warehouse jobs. It still pays the bills & I do work. Just to look at me, most think I'm poor. No, not even close. Just homely looking.

October 12 2012 at 1:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cindyde

no **** sherlock

October 12 2012 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
raydar67

Saw this on 'Family Guy' Peter was beauiful,so it must be true.

October 12 2012 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
you Bloated Sac!

So true! It just goes to show how many shallow, self absorbed a-holes are out there in positions of authority. In the long run many of them do not last very long. Once they get old, tired, used up, etc. they are tossed on the scrap pile just like the rest of us "ordinary folk". The big difference is they have that much farther to fall and are that much more devastated than those who are used to being pushed aside. Wait until you turn 50 and see what it is like looking for a new job!!

October 12 2012 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Don E

Sad to say but most of what the article conveys is true. I saw attractive people get jobs that they clearly was not qualified for time and time again when there was a qualified less attractive person competing for the position. I thought it was just at the company I worked for for almost 30 years.

October 11 2012 at 7:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
fourjwinds

"A door-to-door insurance salesman is better able to sell to customers who find him attractive, says Maestripieri, because the customers will be more likely to buy if they think it will increase their chances to have sex with him. Maestripieri calls this principle "the pleasure of dealing with good-looking people."

Increase their chances of having sex with him?! WHAT? How many people have had sex with their insurance salesman? Are these guys married? Do they wear a wedding ring? I am sure this is all a fantasy.

October 11 2012 at 5:38 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Danny

Wow really? How about doing something about your race to stand out? It's a terrible prejudice.

October 11 2012 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jill Lee Anne Lively

Wow, this is very interesting....

October 10 2012 at 6:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Annonymous

The quote "where you lack, make up in other areas you can control". If you are less attractive then dress better than everyone else. if you dress better, than a better looking person you will stand out above them. people will not only take you more seriously but you will feel better about yourself. When you feel better about yourself your inner beauty and intelligence shines to everyone else around you!!

Good Luck!

October 10 2012 at 1:51 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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