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Does Beauty Give You an Edge on a Job?

SGK Plastic Surgery Blog

An article titled “The Beauty Advantage” on Newsweek.com argues that the quest to look good isn’t just “a vain pursuit” and that beauty can affect your career.

In today’s economy looking good is something that can’t be dismissed as frivolous, according to author Jessica Bennett.

“Economists have long recognized what’s been dubbed the ‘beauty premium’—the idea that pretty people, whatever their aspirations, tend to do better in, well, almost everything,” she writes. She then gives the following statistics:

  • Handsome men earn, on average, 5 percent more than their less-attractive counterparts
  • Good-looking women earn 4 percent more, on average, than their less-attractive counterparts
  • Attractive people get more attention from teachers, bosses, and mentors
  • Babies stare longer at good-looking faces

Furthermore, economist Daniel Hamermesh says that a good-looking man will make some $250,000 more during his career than his least-attractive counterpart. It’s no surprise, then, that 13 percent of women say they’d consider cosmetic surgery if it made them more competitive at work, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Ten percent of men would consider it as well, according to a Newsweek survey.

In a Newsweek survey of 202 corporate hiring managers, 56 percent said that qualified but unattractive candidates are likely to have a harder time getting a job. Furthermore, more than half advised spending as much time and money on “making sure they look attractive” as on perfecting a résumé.

Asked to rank nine employee attributes in order of importance, managers placed looks above where an applicant went to school, but below experience and confidence.

In addition to the article, the online Newsweek special report includes online essays, photo galleries, and interactive features on the “beauty advantage.”

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