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It’s long been thought that attractive workers earn bigger paychecks than their not-so-attractive peers. But a study suggests that other factors might be responsible for the differences in pay.
The 2017 study published in Springer’s Journal of Business and Psychology found that other factors are closely correlated with taking home a bigger paycheck. They include:
- Good health
- Low levels of neuroticism
The study authors concluded that there is “very weak evidence for the beauty premium.”
Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Political Science, one of the study authors, says in a press release that the earnings difference between attractive and unattractive workers goes away once you factor in health, intelligence and other personality factors. Kanazawa explains:
“Physically more attractive workers may earn more, not necessarily because they are more beautiful, but because they are healthier, more intelligent, and have better personality traits conducive to higher earnings, such as being more conscientious, more extraverted, and less neurotic.”
Surprisingly, the authors found evidence that an “ugliness premium” might exist. People rated as “very unattractive” in the study consistently earned more than those rated as “merely unattractive” — and, in fact, sometimes earned more than average-looking or very attractive co-workers.
How to earn more at work
Setting physical appearance aside — since there’s relatively little you can do to significantly change how you look — there are things you can do to increase your earning potential.
For example, graduating from college can give your paycheck a big boost. Picking the right college also can make a big difference, as we note in “The Best College in Each State for Getting a Job.”
You also have the opportunity to increase your earnings if you negotiate your salary. As we point out in “13 Tips for Success in Any Negotiation,” it helps to take the initiative when fighting for a higher salary:
Your opening bid sets the terms for the negotiation. Try to name a price first and name it high if you are negotiating salary, low if you’re negotiating a purchase price. You can give ground later, but you’ll never get a better number than your initial bid.
Building stronger willpower also can translate into higher pay and more success. You do this a little bit at a time by learning from others who have done well in life. As we have written:
Immerse yourself in others’ advice, input and support. You don’t have to buy into everything you hear. “Take the best and leave the rest,” say users of Alcoholics Anonymous and other free, effective self-help groups.
For more, check out “7 Ways to Build Willpower That Creates Success.”
Do you think your looks hurt or help your paycheck? Sound off below or on Facebook.