NEWSWEEK surveyed hiring managers and job seekers about the role of beauty in the workplace. The bottom line? It pays to be good-looking.
3. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. (We Suppose That Could Be Taken Literally.)
Fifty-nine percent of hiring managers advised spending as much time and money “making sure they look attractive” as on perfecting a résumé. Botox, anyone?
4. Yes, We Knew This: It’s Worse for Women
Most news junkies have probably heard the story of Debrahlee Lorenzana, the Queens woman who sued Citibank last month, alleging she was fired for being “too hot.” Whether or not there’s any validity to the woman’s case, women in the workplace are often faced with a double bind: they are expected to be sexy but can be punished for being too attractive. Sixty-one percent of the hiring managers we surveyed—60 percent of whom were men—said they believe a woman would benefit from wearing clothing that shows off her figure at work. Meanwhile, 47 percent of those same managers said they believe some women are penalized for being too good-looking in the office. As a whole, women are perceived to benefit more from their looks: 39 percent of managers believe that being “very good-looking” is more of an advantage for women than men, while only 16 percent believe the opposite—that it’s more beneficial to men than to women. (Is anybody surprised?)
5. We Hate Fat People—Even Though Most of Us Are Fat
Almost 75 percent of Americans may be overweight, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control yet the fact remains that we discriminate against fat people at work and in life. Two thirds of business managers said they believe some managers would hesitate before hiring a qualified job candidate who was significantly overweight.
6. We Also Dislike Old People
Eighty-four percent of managers said they believe some bosses would hesitate before hiring a qualified job candidate who looked much older than his or her co-workers.
7. And Apparently We Think ‘Lookism’ Is OK. (In Certain Situations.)
Sixty-four percent of hiring managers said they believe companies should be allowed to hire people based on looks—when a job requires an employee to be the “face” of a company at retail stores or in sales. But here’s the contradiction: 60 percent of them also said they believe most Americans would favor a law making it illegal to discriminate in hiring based on looks. The reality is more evenly split: 46 percent of the public said they would favor a law making hiring discrimination based on appearance illegal.
8. Don’t Throw Yourself Off the Balcony Yet—Confidence Is Important, Too! Confidence—and experience, of course—can still go a long way when it comes to succeeding at work. Remember, both ranked first and second on a list of the most important employee attributes. Beauty bias notwithstanding, there are still opportunities for people who aren’t hotties—and lots of them.