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In every office, women will turn up to work wearing varying amounts of makeup and other grooming products. Some make do with a bit of face cream, lipstick, and their hair pulled into a bun. Others come to work sporting a full face of semi-professional make up and a hairdo most hairdressers would be proud of.
According to a recent study, the women spending lots of time and money on their appearance might actually be getting their money’s worth at work. The research, conducted by sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner, found that physically attractive individuals earn 20% more than people of average attractiveness.
Although the conclusion that appearance plays a part in a person’s career successes isn’t new, one of the more interesting findings shows that for women, putting more effort into their appearance can actually have a greater effect than being naturally beautiful.
During the course of the study, interviewers rated 14,000 participants’ attractiveness and grooming as two separate variables. Women who were categorised as less attractive, but well-groomed earned significantly more than their very attractive counterparts who were not considered well-groomed.
For men, both their natural attractiveness and their level of grooming had far less impact on the size of their pay check.
The fact that it’s the effort women put into their appearance, not the looks they were born with, that determines their success could be seen as encouraging. Of course it would be even more encouraging if looks didn’t play a part at all when it comes to someone’s career success.
Spending more time and money on makeup might be able to increase women’s salaries, but it still won’t land them certain jobs. Last year, a study of people’s reactions to anonymous faces found that physical appearance provides a significant bias in the selection process of leaders. The faces most often correctly identified as leaders, were those of middle-aged white males.
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