Have you ever wondered if attractive people earn more? Naively, I believed that this occurred irregularly. However, a research by Daniel Hamermesh and Jeff Biddle suggest that “Ugly Discrimination” is more widespread (Journal of Labor Economics, 1998). They suggest that attractive people earn about 5 percent more in hourly pay than their average-looking colleagues, who in turn earn 9 percent more per hour than the plainest-looking workers.
It is Not Fair But IS Legal Several people have tried unsuccessfully to sue their employers; however, ugly discrimination is legal. Apparently, unless you live in Washington D.C. and Santa Cruz, you have no legal remedy against this form of discrimination.
You could legislate for every kind of discrimination but not this. In… jobs…the attractive were advantaged, the very plain denigrated and rejected. (P. D. JAMES, 1995)
Beauty, Confidence, and Productivity Perhaps one reason it is difficult to regulate this type of discrimination is that beauty is so subjective and multidimensional. Classical symmetrical physical features are a factor of beauty but confidence also plays a role (about 20% of attractiveness is confidence). Additionally, not all offending parties may realize that they are discriminating. For example, students do consistently give better-looking professors higher evaluations than they give their less genetically-gifted teachers. The disparity is not necessarily thought to be intentional.
Final Thoughts There is no literature to support that better looks translating into better productivity. Accordingly, your appearance may get you in the door, but your productivity will decide whether you stay.
Copyright 2008, Roshawn Watson, Pharm.D. All Rights Reserved.
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