Life really is easier for attractive people. They make more money, get promoted faster, and many times are simply more successful. And according to a new study, they have a much easier time job hunting.
Italian researchers sent more than 10,000 resumes out, using the same one and changing only first-name, last-name, address, and the photo included to test ethnic and regional biases as well as the impact of beauty.
The average callback rate was 30% across all of the CVs sent out. For attractive women, it was 54%, and for attractive men, 47%.
Unattractive women had by far the worst results, with a 7% callback rate. Unattractive men had a 26% rate.
The callback rates for resumes from non-Italians were lower, 13% for men and 12% for women, though the results testing for attractiveness were more statistically significant.
Regional differences weren’t substantial.
The study mirrors the results of another study using a similar design, titled “The Labour Market Return to an Attractive Face: Evidence from a Field Experiment,” from researchers looking at Argentina.
There, attractive people had a 36% higher callback rate than unattractive ones, with no variation in qualification. That study used the same photos in different resumes, digitally modifying faces to make them scientifically less attractive.
In the past, attractiveness was more of a factor once you got past the initial review to an interview, especially in countries where it isn’t common to attach a headshot to job applications.
Now, it’s increasingly common to apply through online platforms like LinkedIn where a profile photo is included, so the advantage the study points to comes into play earlier in the process.
That does come with a caveat though. While the Argentinean and Italian studies found an advantage across both genders, an Israeli study discovered attractive males got a significant boost, but attractive women were discriminated against. They claim to have found evidence that “female jealousy of attractive women in the workplace” was the cause. Clearly there are advantages, but being beautiful does occasionally backfire.