Study suggests men benefit more from being attractive in the workplace than women
A pair of sociologists, one with the University of Oslo, the other with the Polish Academy of Sciences has found that men benefit more in the workplace from being attractive than women do. In their study, reported in the journal Social Science Quarterly, Alexi Gugushvili and Grzegorz Bulczak describe analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (NLSAH).
Anecdotal evidence has suggested that women benefit more from being attractive, in general, than men do. And some studies have hinted that such evidence might apply to the workforce, but none have proven it to be the case. In this new effort, the researchers attempted to settle the matter by studying data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a long-term study conducted in the United States aimed at tracking the development of adolescents as they move into adulthood and assessing the factors that impact their success or failure. In this new effort, Gugushvili and Bulczak looked only at the impact of attractiveness on the degree of success.
Included in the data from the NLSLH were attractiveness scores given confidentially by other volunteers. The researchers compared the scores of 15-year-old volunteers (before they were old enough to improve their looks artificially) with their success as they moved into the workforce. They also attempted to take into consideration other factors such as family background, intelligence and personality traits when measuring success in the workforce.
The researchers found that attractive women had a slight advantage over other women deemed less attractive, and somewhat more so for those deemed the least attractive. But the males saw the greatest difference. Those males deemed the most attractive as a group did better than those deemed average, who in turn did better than those who were rated as the least attractive, demonstrating that attractiveness, at least for males, plays a significant role in workplace success.
The researchers acknowledge that there were limitations in the data, such as the impact on success of late bloomers or other unknown factors that may have had an impact on success—thus, more research is required to confirm their findings.
More information: Alexi Gugushvili et al, Physical attractiveness and intergenerational social mobility, Social Science Quarterly (2023). DOI: 10.1111/ssqu.13320
Journal information: Social Science Quarterly
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