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Does Your "Attractiveness" Impact Your Pay?

It's been reported that "attractive" people seem to have a higher earning potential.

I have to say, one of the most common questions I get asked during my corporate personal branding workshops is, "Can the way I dress have an impact on my earning potential"? The simple answer to this is YES.


Does your level of "attractiveness" in addition to the way you dress further enhance your earning potential?

Well, let's start by defining "attractiveness". I think it means different things to different people. To me "attractiveness" is about making the most with what nature has given you. A person's humour can make them attractive, a person's determination and persistence in a corporate context can also make them more attractive.

Fascinated by this topic, I've put my scientist's hat on and I've set out to see what studies have been done to support the argument that "Attractiveness can increase your earning potential".

Daniel Hamermesh, a professor of economics at the University of Texas, Austin, has written a book, "Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful", which reveals these startling statistics about the importance of appearance in the workplace:

  • Thin women earn $2,000 more each year than the average woman on the job.

  • Thin men’s salary averages $9,000 less per year than their average or big-boned brothers.

  • A six-foot tall man earns more than $5K more annually than a man who is five foot five. 

  • Taller women earn 5-8% more than average women.

  • Blonde women earn $870 more on average than brunettes and redheads. Sixty-three percent of bald men report earning less than guys with a full head of hair.

According to his research, attractive people are likely to earn an average of 3% to 4% more than a person with below-average looks. That adds up to $230,000 more over a lifetime for the typical good-looking person.

My thoughts are that "Looks" are only one of many things that affect how much we earn, including education, age, health, company size and so on.

I do believe that clothing choices affect and reflect a leader's self-image and how they feel about themselves.

I also believe that every interaction you have with your boss, key stakeholders and peers is an opportunity to sell yourself. After all, we are all in the business of "selling".

We literally only have 2-4 seconds to open the trust door with our clients be it internal or external clients. In that time they have already put a dollar value on what we're worth and have decided if they will hire us, promote us or give us a pay rise.

Your client's subconscious mind has already decided how much they are prepared to pay for you or your companies services. In seconds they are deciding if they like you, trust you and want to do business with you and your organisation.

So how can one improve their attractiveness?

  • Dress impeccably and in context to your role: The fit and quality of your garments will speak volumes. Does your image signal you're leadership material, that you have what it takes, that you're ready for that next big opportunity? Every style decision you make is an opportunity to express a quality of your leadership image.

  • Maintain good posture.

  • If you’re a man, shave. If you’re a woman, consider makeup in line with what is appropriate in your office culture.

  • Give yourself a modern hair style. If you have an outdated hairstyle people will automatically assume your ideas are also outdated.

  • Keep your shoes in excellent condition. Its all in the detail.

  • Review your digital footprint: In this new digital age, the first impression you make is most likely going to be via Google! When was the last time you did a Google audit?

  • Consider a regular manicure and teeth whitening.

A closing comment: There is no substitute for self-confidence, which is what really makes people shine.

If you're an ambitious professional woman and would like to elevate your personal brand, come and join me and 20 other ambitious women and learn, "The Art of Self Packaging For Success". Click here to register.

P.S In case, you're wondering, the only time that being "unattractive" works in your favour is if you're an armed robber or theft!!!!!

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