You know that colleague of yours who could probably make it as a model if their current career path doesn’t pan out? We all know the person. Well, previous studies had us believe that these highly attractive peers of ours were better served when it came to salaries.
Look really, really good and earn more, we thought.
According to the study, there isn’t so much a professional advantage to being beautiful — a “beauty premium” as they call it — as an advantage to being fit, smart and likeable.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Business and Psychology, followed over 20,000 people of varying degrees of attractiveness for 13 years.
The subjects were tracked between the ages of 16 and 29 and were measured four times over the course of the study by researchers using a five-point scale to rank physical attractiveness. (We’re not sure we’d want that job. Do they tell the people, “Sorry, you’re a Two”?)
Here’s the scale, for reference:
One – Very Unattractive
Two – Unattractive
Three – Above Average
Four – Attractive
Five – Very Attractive
However, unlike past studies, these researchers also measured health, intelligence and personality. Turns out, being a pretty face doesn’t always equate to a larger pay cheque, but being healthy, quick-witted and smart does.
“This suggests that the ‘beauty premium’ and ‘ugliness penalty’ may not ultimately decrease the efficiency and productivity of organizations, because they may reflect the fact that healthier, more intelligent workers who are more conscientious and extraverted and less neurotic, on average, earn more,” the study writes.
In fact, the Ones (those the study gracefully refers to as“very unattractive”) were paid more than the Twos, and sometimes more than the Threes and Fours. Go Ones! Still, it probably doesn’t hurt to be a Five — just ask Selena Gomez, who reportedly can make half a mil just for posting a selfie on Instagram.
Overall though, what we’re hearing is that it pays to be an awesome person, and not just an awesome looking person. We can do that. Now how about a raise?