Ugly People Earn Less, is this Discrimination?

Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2011 12:54 am
Is it even though they are worth less to their employer??

Most people assume being good-looking gives you a career boost. But just how much does it help?

A lot. Good-looking people charm interviewers, get hired faster, are more likely to make more sales and get more raises.

Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas in Austin, measures out the benefits in his book, "Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful."

According to his research, attractive people are likely to earn an average of 3% to 4% more than a person with below-average looks. That adds up to $230,000 more over a lifetime for the typical good-looking person, Dr. Hamermesh estimates. Even an average-looking worker is likely to make $140,000 more over a lifetime than an ugly worker.

We asked Dr. Hamermesh to discuss his findings. Edited excerpts follow:

WSJ: You show that good looks are even more influential for men's earnings than for women's. Why do men's good looks pay off more?

Mr. Hamermesh: There are two reasons. First, not as many women work for pay as men. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics says just 59% of adult women hold paying jobs in the workforce, compared with 73% of men.) If you are unattractive and you know you are going to be penalized for that, and if you have an option to stay out of the job market, you as a woman may choose not to bear that pain. Also, women in general are paid less than men; part of it is that they channel themselves into different occupations, and part of it is pure discrimination.

WSJ: What about the argument that better-looking people tend to sell more products or attract more new customers?
Mr. Hamermesh: Yes, [research] shows that happens. Better-looking workers bring in more for the employers, just as a more intelligent worker will. Paying them more is still a form of discrimination, but their attractiveness also tends to raise their productivity. That's what makes it so difficult. I would argue that this is discrimination. But others would argue that it's simply an indulgence of people's tastes and preferences


I say that the answer is no, that businesses are not socialist institutions they are free market institutions, and as such the appeal of a person is fair to consider in the job market.
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Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2011 07:00 am
Humans respond to each other. They say that the 9 month old baby has the most appealing face of any other person - wide set eyes, plump skin, pouty mouth. We all love babies, especially this one.

What is really incredible is the smart, commpassionate, clever, beautiful person.

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Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2011 08:30 am
A lot of your attraction to someone is subconscious or instinctive so I would say it's not discrimination because it's not deliberate. You could say the same about happy people vs unhappy or serious people.
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Slappy Doo Hoo
Reply Sun 30 Oct, 2011 07:49 pm
That's why I make what I make, just more proof that I possess panty-dropping looks. You ugly? Get in that kitchen!
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Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2011 10:29 am
Haha, that' s right, Slappy!

There have been so many tests done with attractive people vs. less attractive.
Like the attractive blonde with a heavy suitcase in front of stairs: most guys helped her carry the suitcase up. The average looking woman in the same scenario had to shlepp it up herself .

Dto. for job interviews: the more attractive test person got the job 9 out of 10 times over the average looking woman, even though she had less qualifications than the ugly one.

It's an ugly world out there, make the best of it!
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