The Effect of Physical Attractiveness on Job Success

2427 Words Sep 24th, 2012 10 Pages

Although both intelligence and competence are vital to success, a person’s physical appearance can help or hinder their ability to succeed. This paper divides physical appearance into height, weight, and facial attractiveness, which are examined based on their differing effects in men and women and how society’s perception of each factor shapes their effect on success. This paper then goes on to explain how appearance can actually have a deeper, more profound impact on the personality of a person, which may predispose them for success. When including the effects of education, higher self-confidence and better skills afford more success in a business environment where emphasis is placed on how well an individual can
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Unlike the extra inches leading to an increased salary when considering height, those same inches can be increasingly detrimental to an individual’s success if they are added around the waistline. Weight as a facet of physical appearance plays an important role in determining the salary of an individual over their lifetime. In the working paper, “Body Weight and Women’s Labor Market Outcomes”, Professor John Cawley showed that all else equal, heavier women earned less in the job market. He studied three variables, hourly wages, employment status and occupational sector, to see how body weight affected a women’s ability to succeed. The effect of weight was only seen in white women where an additional 65 pounds lead to an approximate 7% salary penalty. This number translates into the same effect on salary as an additional year of schooling, three years of job experience, or two years of job tenure. Weight however, had no effect on employment status or the labor market in which women entered and little to no effect on the success of men in the workplace (Cawley, 2000, p. 1). Considering society’s perceptions, additional pounds may be looked upon unfavorably because people may equate an overweight person with being inactive or even lazy and therefore not proactive in their careers. The low workplace morale that many overweight individuals
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