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Attractive People Make More Money, A Study Says

A new report confirms something that will be unsurprising to most people: Beautiful people earn higher salaries than average-looking and unattractive people. The Daily Mail reports:

Economists James Andreoni and Ragan Petrie wrote: "We find a beauty premium even though beautiful people contribute, on average, no more or less than others. Attractive people make more money than middle attractive people, who in turn make more money than unattractive people."

Why is this, you ask? The assumption is that beautiful people are more cooperative and helpful. They're subconsciously judged on how bosses expect they'll behave, rather than their actual performance. The (good?) news is that when attractive workers start slacking, they're evaluated more harshly than their homely counterparts.

While I've definitely seen attractive people move up the career ladder, I've also seen some of them falter because supervisors assume they're all beauty and no brains. For instance, a good friend of mine is an Ashton Kutcher lookalike—only more handsome—and people are shocked to find out that he's also a brilliant bookworm with a head for business. I'm curious: Do you think that attractiveness helps or hinders you in the workplace?


Join The Conversation
sugardoll83 sugardoll83 9 years
I think besides attractive people getting more money because they look better, I think the reality is that people who are more attractive are also more confident and assertive, therefore they are able to ask for that raise they deserve, while people who are more insecure about their looks might not make an effort to request more money, or go out and socialize with the big boss in ways that would help push for a raise.
tralala2 tralala2 10 years
uhmmmm then tell me why all the billionaires in the world are pretty ugly?
leira leira 10 years
Unfortunately, its a no brainer (coz dats how life works, everyone's naturally nice to you on first impression -which is plays an important part)and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. We let the pretty people win!
Hope5 Hope5 10 years
I totally believe it!
dracsbabe dracsbabe 10 years
It certainly has helped my brother he doesn't have a degree in anything just a lot of work experience. He's been able to move up and up in the company he's currently at. Also he's married and older woman who is wealthy.
elegance1 elegance1 10 years
I think it probably helps on a first impression basis, because then people end up judging you quickly, and since there are so many positive views on "attractive people," it could help with a better judgement in the beginning, but if your personality and competence sucks, then attractiveness can't get you very far.
marley11 marley11 10 years
nothing surprising about that at all.
quietone84 quietone84 10 years
It makes sense - I only work at a convenience store, but I *never* have trouble with rude customers and a less attractive coworker has loads of trouble. I was somewhat saddened by this even if it does work out in my favor. Also, I imagine that, especially when you're dealing with the public, it's a lot easier to be cheerful on the job when people are nicer to you. Leading to better performance & higher pay.
Hellena25 Hellena25 10 years
Oh, yeah...for sure.... I'm now remembering all those "Get a Job" tips.... remember the one about "dressing a position above" the one you're applying for? That means nicer/more expensive clothes: i.e., a more "attractive" wardrobe.... We probably discriminate as consumers, too... I mean, how many of us would trust a hairdresser whose hair looked like total crap? Or a plastic surgeon who was completely fugly?
soulight soulight 10 years
I'm not surprised at all. We are instilled from the day that we are born with the idea that pretty people are happy people which in turn make them better people to work with, so why would they move up quickly. Although My friend (who is gorgeous btw) dyed her hair brunette from blond because she felt that would make her seem more serious in the male dominated engineering world, so being beautiful seems to be a double edged sword.
rlveronica rlveronica 10 years
I believe it. But like vien said, it depends on what you do. You gotta dress and look the part! =)
popularsugar popularsugar 10 years
i don't like the photo associated with attractiveness..
vienvien vienvien 10 years
It depends on what type of job or industry, you go in. If it's the fashion and entertainment industry, great looks rule. But jobs that demand greater skills in medicine, engineering and science, good looks can put you at a disadvantage
Beauty Beauty 10 years
I'm surprised the study actually happened, too. What's next? "Study finds that mewling kittens are adorable" or "Having extra money is less stressful than having too little"?
demonkitty18 demonkitty18 10 years
they had to do a study on this?? :S doh.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
That's sad but I'm not surprised.
greeneydmonster greeneydmonster 10 years
umm can i meet your friend? lol attractive people might also be used to getting their way, so they are more willing to be assertive and ask for raises. who knows.
pollypo pollypo 10 years
I think that attractiveness helps in general in life. I think that there are certain people who assume that someone who's good-looking is "fluffy" or not very bright, but most people benefit from being attractive.
xo_verity xo_verity 10 years
Duh. The world is so vain.
muchacha muchacha 10 years
it's like what dwayne says in little miss sunshine "life is one big beauty pagent".., or something to that effect.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 10 years
well I hope this is so... :) it would be sad to waste all this beauty! haha
CestLaVie CestLaVie 10 years
Nothing new with that.
Sweet-as-Sugar Sweet-as-Sugar 10 years
I work in fashion & beauty PR/magazines and given the industry, yeah it definitely helps. I've gotten pretty much every job I've ever apply for but I'd like to think that's because I have good skills and a great portfolio!
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 10 years
It helps. But so does being professional and polished, regardless of looks. My last bosses were fat slobs who wore ugly clothes with bursting buttons. One even sat around at work with a hole in the crotch of his pants, drawers poking all the way out! If he looked like David Beckham, it still would have been tacky!
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