Do You Have the Traits That Lead to a Bigger Paycheck?

It's long been thought that attractive people get paid more than less attractive peers. But a new study says the reasons behind the pay gap are more than skin deep.

Do You Have the Traits That Lead to a Bigger Paycheck? Photo by kurhan /

It’s long been thought that attractive workers earn bigger paychecks than their not-so-attractive peers. But a new study suggests that other factors might be responsible for the differences in pay.

The recent 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
  • Intelligence
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Low levels of neuroticism

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Political Science 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.”

The study is based on a sampling of 20,000 people, although only about 1 to 2 percent of those surveyed classified themselves as “very unattractive,” which some experts say could throw off the study’s conclusions.

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, although the size of the bump is largely dependent on which college and major you choose.

You also have the opportunity to increase your earnings if you negotiate your salary. But remember to do your homework before you ask for more money.

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.

Krystal Steinmetz
Krystal Steinmetz
A former television and radio reporter, I stay at home with my two young children, run a small craft business and freelance for Money Talks News. I have a BA in journalism ... More


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