There have been many scientific studies (not just anecdotal evidence) that being attractive can land you a job, promotion, or raise. But did you know that a new study has shown it can actually work against you? Some jobs might just favor the “average Joe” over the “devilishly handsome Joe.”
A new study out this past December from the UCL School of Management shows that “handsome men may be rejected for competitive jobs … but are preferred for jobs that require cooperation.”
The study showed that jobs in sales were particularly vulnerable to this bias: “in competitive workplaces such as sales departments, good looks signaling competence can make handsome men seem threatening to future colleagues. If decision makers expect to compete, they would rather discriminate against them.”
Check out typical sales jobs salaries on PayScale.
A Little Hope for Ladies, or the Same Old Problems?
In what at first seems like a hopeful note, the notes on the study show that “Dr. Lee didn’t find the same effect for pretty women as female attractiveness wasn’t associated with competence.” Unfortunately, the reason behind this is a sad truth of hiring everywhere. Lee said the results are “because physical stereotypes interact with gender stereotypes.”
How to Combat the Bias
One way to get around workplace hiring bias is to use an outside group to do the vetting, instead of someone who might feel threatened by Mr. Handsome over here. The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Lee Sun Young, remarked that, “Awareness that hiring is affected by potential work relationships and stereotyping tendencies can help organisations improve their selection processes.”
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