Girl Talk Career Blog

May 14, 2010

Do Pretty Women get Hired More Often than Plain Women?

Filed under: businesswoman — lisalahey @ 10:05 am
Tags: , , , ,

 

Alas the battle between Girlfriends continues and now it has spilled over into the workplace.  It’s long been touted that good-looking people get hired more easily and make more money than plain or unattractive people. Penelope Trunk wrote a rather controversial blog that has gotten mixed responses insisting that aging or not-so-attractive people of any age should consider plastic surgery to increase their odds on getting and keeping a well-paying job.  No joke. Not sure I buy into that one. 

There has actually been research about this type of thing.  Research.  Government grants about whether or not good-looking people get better-paying jobs more easily than plain people. People are dying of cancer all over the place and this is where our tax money is going.  But I digress…..

I can assure you that good-looking people do NOT always get the best of everything.  I have a beautiful friend, I’ll call her Jade who has the kind of looks that make men do a double-take when they see her.  And if you think she hasn’t had her fair share of disappointments in life then Girlfriend you’re in for a surprise. Consider:

  1. She’s been married and divorced since the man she wed carried on an affair with another woman who incidentally was less attractive than her for 9 years.  Yep. 9.
  2. She went through a lot of frog-kissing during her dating years to find her prince, the man she married, only to find out that he was actually a toad.
  3. She has been fired twice.
  4. She has been overlooked for a promotion once.
  5. She has been rejected by HR recruiters more times than you can count.

And she is beautiful! In spite of that, her life is no different in terms of advantages at work, with men, with family, with anything under the sun than anyone else’s. The one reassurance she does have is that pretty face whenever she looks in the mirror and the admiration she gets from complete strangers, even on a “bad hair” day. Sure that’s a comfort but she has zero advantages over any woman I know. In fact some of the plainest or most unusual-looking women I have ever met have great jobs and make wonderful money. They move up the corporate ladder and retain their jobs in even the toughest economy.  And the attractive women I know do NOT have jobs because they’re hot. They’ve earned them with honest-to-god college degrees and in some cases years of proving themselves before work got any better.

Think it’s any easier for a good-looking man to snag a great job and a great salary?  Think again.  I know a number of good-looking guys who have taken years to break into their field and even now are only making a moderate salary. They have a long way to go and are working super hard to get there.  Truly Girlfriend I believe this “good-looking advantage” thing is way over-rated.

There are however studies that insist it isn’t beauty it’s an education that gets people better-paying work and that gets them hired more easily. Personally I tend to buy into that mentality significantly more than the “good-looking advantage” theory.  For one thing seriously well-paying and executive positions usually require a post-secondary education. It doesn’t matter how hot you are, if you don’t have that background along with the work experience you aren’t working your way up that high on the corporate ladder.

For another in all the years I’ve been reading job boards, ads and interviewing with HR managers I have never once read or heard anyone say “must be good-looking“. Of course such a requirement is not only ludicrous but illegal, emphasizing even more that good-looking people probably don’t have a hiring edge over plainer folk.

Of course those who undergo cosmetic procedures will likely argue with the educational advantage since their perspective is so narcissistic in focus. And even though surgeons are seeing patients who express concerns about a competitive advantage in the workplace I doubt these patients are being honest. They’re probably embarrassed about their own vanity or maybe wishfully dreaming that a nip and tuck here and there will win them over their dream job.

But Girlfriend you and I know better about beauty in the workplace.  Let’s save the catfights for the bar scene, after work hours.

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