7 Ways Your Looks Affect Your Pay

Posted August 02, 2012 by

Discriminating against people based on their physical appearance is wrong — both morally, and in many cases, legally speaking. The way you look usually has no bearing on how you’ll perform in your job, and in a perfect world everyone would be judged solely on his/her merits.

But the harsh reality is this isn’t a perfect world, and discrimination — whether intentional or inadvertent — still plays a role in the workplace. And while it should never be condoned, job seekers and employees need to be aware of how discriminatory practices regarding age, race, sex, and physical appearance can affect compensation.

Unfortunately, multiple studies show that the amount someone is paid — and in some cases whether or not they get the job — is based, at least in part, on how they look. Obviously we’re not suggesting plastic surgery simply to get a job or a higher paycheck, but knowing about and identifying existing prejudices is crucial to helping you understand what you’re up against while job hunting or looking for a raise/promotion, so you can know what to expect.

7. Height

Tall people get paid more money. Although this might seem like it shouldn’t make sense anywhere other than on a basketball court, it seems the taller you are, the more you can expect to pad your wallet.

A 2004 study by Timothy Judge at the University of Florida found that for every inch of height, a tall worker can expect to earn an extra $789 per year. That means two equally skilled coworkers would have a pay differential of nearly $5,000 per year, simply because of a 6-inch height differential, according to the study.

But a 2006 study by Princeton economists Anne Case and Christina Paxson indicates there could be a good reason for the pay gap — tall people are smarter. Taller children score better on tests even before formal schooling begins, according to the study, and the tall adults go on to take higher-paying jobs that require greater intelligence.

6. Weight

If you’re trying to maximize your paycheck by living large at the office, you’ll have to keep that strictly to a metaphorical sense.

Obese workers (those who have a Body Mass Index of more than 30) are paid less than normal-weight coworkers at a rate of $8,666 a year for obese women, and $4,772 a year for obese men, according to a George Washington University study that cited data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth in 2004. And other studies indicate obese women are even more likely to be discriminated against when it comes to pay, hiring and raises.

A study reported in the International Journal of Obesity described an experiment in which people were shown pictures of job applicants, as well as resumes, and asked to score them on suitability, starting salary, and employability. What the test subjects didn’t realize, however, is the pictures they were being shown were actually of the same person, but before and after bariatric weight loss surgery. Overwhelmingly, the thinner candidates were chosen for the job and with higher starting salaries than the heavier applicants.  Continue reading . . .

Article by Aaron Gouveia and courtesy of Salary.com

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Posted in Advice for Employers and Recruiters, Salary, Scholarships and Finances | Tagged Tagged , ,