Katie and Esther lament turning 30—SHOWS! Are you current on beauty research? Deny it as we may, the fact is that a woman’s looks DO have an impact on her level of success in the workplace. What if the person hiring is the attractive one; could there be “hotness” discrimination? And guess what—CONFIDENCE is a factor in whether a person is considered attractive! (“Knowing your stuff can actually make you hotter!”)
Katie: Welcome back to segment three of The BusinessMakers Overtime Show, heard here and online at TheBusinessMakers.com. We are ending up our 30th show, Esther, this -
Esther: Unbelievable, 30th show -
Katie: So exciting!.
Katie: Show-aversary! I feel like at any moment confetti and balloons will fall out of the ceiling! (Laughter)
Esther: Nope! Nope -
Katie: Not happening!
Esther: No confetti, no balloons, no. (Laughter)
Katie: So to mark this special occasion we've come up with a very fun beauty-focused show. We've had some great news tidbits, we've spoken to Alexis Wolfer of the Beauty Bean, and now we're actually going to approach the subject from how beauty affects things in the workplace.
Esther: It's a controversial topic -
Katie: It really is.
Esther: And I think that people want to believe that it doesn't affect your job and how your - your promotion and your salary.
Esther: But based on the research that we've done it absolutely does - not that we've conducted these studies ourselves -
Katie: No, we've not been out polling the streets, but - (Laughter)
Esther: No, we haven't, but a lot of very smart people have.
Esther: And they have come to the conclusion that it does affect how much money you make, whether you're attractive or not.
Esther: And I don't know what their standards of attractiveness are, so -
Katie: This is true.
Esther: I can't say from reading these studies what "attractive" really means, but I guess there's a threshold. You're either - in this study you're either ugly or you're pretty, so.
Katie: Exactly. Maybe it's kind of like the "hot or not." Like, they post the photos online and people vote - I don't know. (Laughter) HotOrNot.com.
Esther: Yeah. Well, there was this 2007 study done by the University of California that concluded that attractive people earn 12 percent more than normal or ugly people.
Katie: 12 percent more?
Esther: Than just normal - what am I? I don't know.
Katie: Honestly -
Esther: If I was, like -
Katie: What is my earning potential?
Esther: What could be with a little plastic surgery?
Katie: Exactly! (Laughter)
John: That's why I'm banking! (Laughter)
Katie: That's why John, our producer, is banking -
Esther: Because he is so pretty.
Katie: You're so fun! (Laughter)
Esther: Oh, my goodness. So further studies have shown that attractive people have an easier life, or people are just more willing to help them in general, which could in turn lead to more opportunities in the future. So for example, people are more enthusiastic about helping an attractive person with directions than an ugly person. If a hot person stopped you on the street and was like, "Hey, can you help me get from one place to the next?" you might be more inclined than if it was like this - you know, I don't know.
Katie: What would happen is, "Why yes, and let me take you there." That's what would happen. (Laughter)
Esther: "And let me join you."
Katie: Yes! (Laughter)
Esther: Yeah, but not so much when the person's not so - so much to look at, you know?
Esther: So it's kind of interesting. Another study, done by Professors Daniel Hammermesh and Jeff Biddle that estimates that if you're perceived as beautiful, you probably earn about five percent more than your ordinary-looking counterparts.
Katie: Gee whiz.
Esther: Ooh, boy.
Katie: But on the flip side - and this is from another CNN.com article - Richard St. John, who's the author of a book called Stupid, Ugly, Unlucky, and Rich - wow! This guy -
Esther: That's a title.
Katie: Seriously. This guy says that he's so unconvinced of the connection between good looks and competence that he'll often choose to hire what he calls the visual underdog. So a quote from him - he says, "I'm not saying looks won't help you be successful at getting a date. I'm saying looks won't help you be successful in other areas of life." So I mean, I wonder, given that we're seeing this percentage increase in annual salary by amazingly beautiful people, does that hurt them? Like, say - what if it was a woman and her - you know, the person that was hiring was female. I wonder what the correlation is on - you know, are they gonna be like, "Uh-uh, no you don't, girl," like -
Esther: "I'm the hot one in the office!"
Katie: "I'm the hot one in the office!" (Laughter) Now there's an interesting HR conversation to have, like -
Esther: Absolutely! (Laughter)
Katie: It's like, "She's hotter than me! I don't like this. Get rid of her." So I mean, yeah, hotness discrimination, like, does it happen in reverse? You know, are some people losing out 'cause they're just too attractive?
Esther: I'm sure they are, and that's actually something else that was mentioned, was that it does work in reverse because sometimes those people who are thought of as attractive or are very in shape are considered vapid, or maybe people think they don't have as much going on in the brain department -
Katie: They don't give them a chance, yeah.
Esther: Yeah, so I don't know if that's true. But another issue is the weight issue, because that adds to whether or not people think you're attractive. And there was a paper in 2000 by Professor John Collie. He found than an extra 65 pounds typically costs a white woman - this is specifically about white women - seven percent of her wages. To put this another way, if you're a seriously overweight white woman, losing 65 pounds is likely to be as lucrative as an extra year of college, or three extra years of work experience.
Katie: Oh, my gosh, I have to go now and go to the gym. I'll see you later, Esther.
Esther: Uh, yeah. (Laughter) Can you believe that? Not that you have anything to worry about, obviously. I mean, it's just - can you imagine that?
Esther: It's such - and how can you argue with - the thing is, you see these things happen all around you. I don't know what other people make, but you do see weight discrimination. You do see, you know, gender discrimination, whether or not you want it to be there or not. It's a sad state. It's a sad reality, but it's good to be aware of it. And you can own those things, take control of them. You don't have to be overweight. You don't have to -
Esther: You can remedy those things. They're changeable.
Katie: So in another study, also from the CNN.com article, two researchers named Marcus Mobius and Tonya Rosenblott found that confidence, they believe, makes up 20 percent of perceived attractiveness. So they're saying that, you know, just even if you're not the hottest girl in a room full of interviewees, having that firm handshake, really great eye contact, really just getting into the interview, being prepared, just knowing your stuff, that can actually make you a little hotter. So -
Esther: I think it makes you hotter -
Katie: Thank you so much.
Esther: 'Cause you always know your stuff. (Laughter)
Katie: Ditto, kiddo. (Laughter) Well, I guess that wraps up episode 30, Show-Aversary.
Esther: Woo! All right, hot stuff. That was exciting.
Katie: Hmm, that was fun.
Esther: Big 3-0.
Katie: I'm all riled up now. (Laughter) Good show!
Esther: Good show. Well, of course you can join us on Twitter at Overtime Show. You can join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/The BusinessMakers. And of course please, please join us on our website - we love our website - TheBusinessMakers.com/overtime. It's a wonderful website and we hope you'll join us there.
Katie: We do. So thanks so much for being with us, and we can't wait to talk to you next week. You've been listening to The BusinessMakers Overtime show, heard here and online at TheBusinessMakers.com. I'm Katie Laird -
Esther: And I'm Esther Steinfeld.
Katie: And we think you're pretty hot. See you later.