Study: Why “Very Unattractive” People Often Get Paid More

Study: Why “Very Unattractive” People Often Get Paid More

As regular B&T readers would know, we love nothing more than when a survey happens across the news desk.

And, admittedly, a new one published in the Journal of Business and Psychology isn’t advertising/marketing specific, but the results were so interesting we thought “stuff it, let’s run it anyway”.

The study was performed by Satoshi Kanazawa from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Mary Still from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. It’s chief finding – very ugly people often get paid more than their prettier colleagues.

Interestingly, the results fly in the face of popular opinion that beautiful people often get all of life’s perks; including the top jobs and the fat pay cheques.

The study found that workers who were more conscientious, extroverted and less neurotic earned “significantly more” than their colleagues who weren’t.

However, it also cited a “beauty premium”. The study involved interviewing 20,000 participants over a thirteen-year period from the ages of 16-29.

Participants who were labelled as “very unattractive” always earned more than those simply described as “unattractive “– and often, they earned more than average looking and attractive people.

Commenting on the study, employment psychologist, Alex Fradera, believed the uglier people often put more effort into their careers than beautiful people who can often spend too long trying to be beautiful.

“Could this openness-attractiveness association be an indicator that some of the very unattractive scored especially low on openness and were perhaps highly devoted to a specific topic area, pursuing it obsessively to the exclusion of all distractions and eventually entering the forefront of their field?” Fradera asked.

“We know that openness correlates negatively with the passion component of ‘grit,’ so such effects are conceivable.”




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