I’ve stated before that looks matter in the workplace (even though they shouldn’t) and here’s the study to prove it. This controversial paper hit the web last week and essentially the following conclusions were reached:
- Women that are 25 pounds below average make $15K Per Year More
- Men that are 25 Pounds below average actually make $8K LESS Per Year
- Many factors were normalized and accounted for like education, industry, race, height, etc.
It may seem shocking to see, well, first of all, that weight matters at all in salary outcomes, but secondly, that males and females have an opposite result. The thinking (the mainstream media’s opinion, not mine), is that very skinny men are viewed as “afraid, sad, weak, and sick” whereas bigger dudes are viewed as ” brave, healthy, smart…”. And you’ve probably already heard what society does to overweight women.
When I think about leaders in my company, like VP and up, I’ve gotta say, I see the trend! Many of our female leaders are very fit, even at an older age. Guys? It doesn’t seem to matter. I used to see this in the car insurance company I worked for in college as well – same pattern! How about our political leaders? Aren’t female politicians that win elections usually somewhat thin? Guys often are as well, but there are surely more overweight males in office than females. They’re usually taller, but as far as weight, they’re all over the place. I guess there are subtle human discriminating factors that influence opinions and such that ultimately result in the little ladies and bigger dudes getting the best opportunities.
I dunno, maybe it’s also somewhat a function of confidence? Contrary to Financial Samurai’s contention that overweight people are confident and that they just don’t care, I believe it’s the opposite. I think very fit men and women probably have higher confidence and thus, end up getting more “exposure”, more key roles, more promotions, etc. And overweight men, which seem to benefit in the study as well, perhaps just don’t care as much since society doesn’t seem to frown upon overweight males nearly to the degree that overweight females are treated. Should guys kick back and make women feel self-conscious that they need to be losing weight to fit in? This is all conjecture and there may be other causes. But I’m an analytical guy, and call me guilty of confirmation bias, but seeing actual hard data in this study did confirm my suspicions.