Society tells us that, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and regardless of your looks everyone is beautiful and treated equally. But there are studies that show that isn’t always the case, especially when it comes to salaries. In his recent book, “Beauty Pays”, Dr. Daniel Hamermesh, a professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin calculated a good-looking person will earn, on average, $230,000 more over the course of a lifetime than someone who is perceived as less attractive.
To put it bluntly, he thinks aesthetically challenged (I despise the word ugly) people will always be in a lower tax bracket and pretty people will stay winning when it comes to their paychecks.
Recently, Learnvest, a site geared towards powering women financially, asked Hammermesh to explain what the ‘premium for beauty, and a penalty for bad looks’ in the workplace meant. “It’s part and parcel of the same thing. If you’re better-looking than average, you’ll do better than the average. If you’re worse-looking, you’ll do worse than the average. In terms of earnings, the top one-third most attractive women received 8% more than average-looking women. The lowest-rated women by looks received 4% lower pay than average. For men, the comparable figures are a 4% raise for good-looking men and a 13% penalty for those judged least attractive. So salary-wise, men get punished more than women for unattractiveness.” I’d be interested in seeing the people used in his research. I was always a believer that beauty is subjective. What might be someone’s cup of tea, may not be another person’s.
Being pretty may have it’s perks outside of the workplace as well. A few years ago, while vacationing in Las Vegas, a couple of friends decided to head to a popular night club. As we’re standing in line, a bouncer was instructed to pull the “pretty” girls out of line and escort them into the club. What a pressuring job to have! The bouncer grabbed a few women and escorted them to the entrance. Tall, blond, brunettes, black, white, I guess you could call them pretty. He then returned to line to continue his picking. This batch of women included a woman that eventually was told to get back into line by another bouncer. Apparently she wasn’t pretty enough to get in. I saw the look on her face and felt her humiliation. Some people even had the nerve to laugh.
Did I think this woman was pretty? Sure, I definitely did. Did I feel the bouncers were being assholes to begin with? Of course they were, but I guess they were doing their job.
We live in a society where people, especially women, are judged heavily on their looks. Do you feel beautiful people are just that more confident and it exudes throughout everything they do, including job performance? Or does a less attractive person tend to have a lower amount of self esteem, which could probably reflect in their work as well?