Fair or not – research shows that our appearance can determine the size of our salary. And although employers aren’t supposed to discriminate based on physical appearance, it happens subconsciously. But knowing what influences people can help you maximize your earnings and job success. So here’s what we know:
The taller you are, the bigger your paycheck! The University of Florida found that for every inch of height, workers can expect to earn an extra $800 a year. So, someone who is 6 feet tall would make nearly $6,000 more a year than someone who’s 5’5”. That’s because tall people are perceived as more intelligent and powerful. And that perception kicks in long before paychecks are involved! According to Princeton research, even tall kids score better on tests.
Now, you can’t help your height, but we can control our weight. And a bigger paycheck may be an incentive. A George Washington University study found that obese workers are paid roughly $8,000 less than their normal-weight coworkers. Researchers say that there’s a stigma that overweight people lack self-control. And employers may think that lazy attitude will spill over into their work. As an example - the International Journal of Obesity published a shocking study, in which people were shown pictures of job candidates and their resumes. What the people didn’t realize was that the people in the pictures were all the same – just before and after weight loss surgery! But overwhelming the thinner people were chosen for the job and given a higher salary.
Other physical attributes affect salary too: Blondes earn more because they’re perceived as “rare.” Women who wear makeup are thought of as more professional. And workers who are considered “beautiful” earn 5 percent more than those considered average looking.
But tall or short, thin or overweight – you can increase your salary by exercising. Research shows that workers who exercise three or more times a week earn nearly $100 a week more than their couch potato coworkers. Experts say that being fit sends the message that you’re dedicated, and employers assume you’ll carry that winning attitude into the office.