Attractive People Earn MoreThere is a long-standing stereotype that those who are more attractive earn higher salaries for similar work than those who are less attractive. While you may want to believe that this is simply a myth, it is actually reinforced by statistics. Unfortunately this is a complicated issue because there is also a relationship between level of attractiveness and productivity so this wage gap cannot easily be qualified as discrimination.
Attractive People Get Noticed: This may be one of the key subjective reasons why more attractive people make more money. If two interview candidates with similar skill levels apply for a position, the interviewer is more likely to recall the one with better looks. Once in a position, coworkers and supervisors are more likely to spend time chatting with more attractive employees. Customers are more likely to buy products from or give positive reviews to attractive employees. This extra attention helps attractive people to get hired and to be noticed for the contributions that they make.
Attraction Confidence Boost: Attractive people also tend to be more productive and this may be a result of their self-confidence. Those who are attractive are likely to have higher self-confidence about their work than those who are less attractive because they are more likely to be noticed and appreciated. The attention that attractive workers receive reinforces itself and leads to attractive people feeling better about their own work and responding to their own self-perception.
Overall, attractive people make about 3-4% more money than unattractive people. This amounts to about $200,000 over the course of the average career. It is difficult to separate attraction and productivity and therefore it is challenging to address this form of salary discrimination. It is up to each individual to try to control their responses to more or less attractive people. I hope that having a conscious understanding of this issue can help prevent people from making subconscious judgements about employees based on their levels of attractiveness.