Looks are as important as brains to career success, says new study
By Allan Hall
Good-looking people worried about higher education shouldn't worry. Beauty is every bit as good as a BA when it comes to getting on, a new study says.
Researchers at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg in northern Germany have found wages, promotions and perks at work are linked to a person's attractiveness.
While looks have long been thought essential for women to climb the corporate ladder, they say, they are even more important for men.
Beauty over brains: Good looks can be more important to career success than academic achievement, according to a German study. (Posed by model)
The team, headed by (aptly surnamed) Professor Christian Pfeifer, questioned more than 3,000 people about their careers and compared them with rankings of how attractive they were.
Researchers themselves gauged their subjects' looks on a scale of one to 11.
Professor Pfeifer said: 'The results showed that just one point above average on the attractiveness scale and the chance of getting employed rises by three percent.
'Five points more – that is about the difference between an ordinary face and downright beauty – helps in getting a job as much as a university degree.'
'It remains unclear exactly how attractiveness often equates to higher pay and higher-flying career, but I suspect the first impression a person makes could be crucial'
Professor Christian Pfeifer, Leuphana University of Lüneburg
'It remains unclear exactly how attractiveness often equates to higher pay and higher-flying career, but I suspect the first impression a person makes could be crucial.
'It is possible that good looking people make a more lasting impression in interviews, or that they come across as nicer.
'The future boss may know notice nothing – they may possibly think they were making a choice based on the competence of the applicant. In such a case, attractiveness could act as a tool to open the door.'
He added: 'We know that good looking people are often more self assured, which could help in boosting their productivity.'
Professor Pfeifer and his team have published the findings of the research this week in the Applied Economics Letters journal.