- Research suggests life works a little better for conventionally attractive people.
- Attractive people get paid more, get considered for more jobs, and have stronger social skills than unattractive people, according to science.
- Here are 11 scientific reasons why attractive people succeed more in life.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Studies show that you’re more likely to get hired if you look well-groomed, that good-looking people make about 12% more money than less appealing folks, and that attractive real-estate brokers bring in more money than their less attractive peers. Indeed, according to a just-published paper on the 2018 congressional midterms, more attractive candidates are more likely to get elected.
Psychologists call it the “beauty premium.” Essentially, the income gap between attractive and unattractive people is comparable to the gap between genders or ethnicities.
Here are all the ways attractive people can succeed in life:
Physically attractive workers are considered more able by employers.
We’re inclined to pay people more depending on how they look.In a 2005 experiment modelling the hiring process, would-be employers looking at photographs of would-be employees were ready to give 10.5% higher salaries to attractive people over unattractive people.
Hiring managers carried that premium over to interactions that only happened on the phone. In other words, you only need to sound attractive to benefit from our biases toward beauty.
Physically attractive workers are more confident, and higher confidence increases wages.
We all suffer from the “halo effect” – without realising it, we take someone’s appearance to be telling of their overall character.
By the time cute kids become attractive adults, they have benefited from this bias for years, giving them higher levels of confidence.
“Teachers expect better-looking kids to outperform in school and devote more attention to children who are perceived to have greater potential,” Mobius and Rosenblat write in their 2005 paper “Why Beauty Matters.” “Preferential treatment in return builds confidence as well as social and communication skills.”
That confidence, the literature suggests, translates into academic achievement and professional success.
Physically attractive workers have social skills that raise their wages when they interact with employers.
Attractive people had higher-rated communication skills than unattractive people.
“Physical attractiveness raises social and communication skills, which in return raise an employer’s estimate of the worker’s productivity,” researchers Mobius and Rosenblat write. “We assume that the employer is unaware of these biases and hence does not correct for them.”
This has a major impact over the course of a career. Research shows that raising kids’ social skills is a better predictor of lifetime earnings than raising their intellectual ability.
Beautiful people are more sociable than everybody else, the science says – or at least we’re biased to think so.
Attractive people are more likely to get elected to public office.
Better-looking candidates fared better in the 2016 midterm elections, a 2019 study published in American Politics Research finds. Attractive incumbent candidates vying in male-only districts fared especially better.
“Our study thus lends additional support to the idea of a beauty premium: even when controlling for many relevant covariates, attractiveness still exerts an influence on House candidate’s electoral performance,” the study states.
Other research from Finland found both male and female political candidates who look better than their competitors are more successful, as voters enjoy watching good looking candidates.
Women who wear makeup appear more competent and trustworthy.
When comparing women who wore makeup versus what they look like bare-faced, participants in a 2011 Harvard study viewed the groomed woman as more attractive, competent, likeable, and trustworthy.
“When inferring trustworthiness, likeability, or competence from an image, we are influenced significantly not only by the attractiveness of the inherited phenotype but by the effects of the ‘extended phenotype,’ in this case, makeup,” the paper states.
Attractive people get called back for job interviews more often.
A 2013 study sent out 10,000 resumes changing only the name, address, and photo to analyse the call-back rates.
While the average call back rate was 30% of all resumes, attractive women got invited for an interview 54% of the time, while attractive men got called back 47% of the time.
Attractive women have a better advantage when negotiating with men.
Men are more likely to tolerate unfairness – such as a hefty salary negotiation – when dealing with attractive women, one study finds.
Researchers at Zhejiang University’s School of Management in China gave 21 male participants 300 photos of women, and were asked to answer if they would accept each subject’s offer to split a sum of money.
Results indicated men were more likely to engage in unfair negotiations with attractive women.
Good-looking CEOs bring better stock returns for their companies.
Joseph T. Halford and Hung-Chia Hsu, researchers from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, tested whether the appearance of a company’s CEO is related to shareholder value.
They found stock prices rose higher for businesses with attractive CEOs after positive news about the company aired on TV.
Attractive teachers can better teach students, both in grade schools and in college.
One study from the ’80s found that when comparing teachers who were better looking to those who were worse looking, about 100 students in the first and sixth grade reported they feel they would learn more from attractive educators.
The study’s findings were somewhat replicated in a more recent study from 2016, which found college students retain more information when the lecturer is good looking.
Attractive women get better grades.
A study from 2015 analysed 77,067 ID pictures of students who attended Metropolitan State University of Denver. The researchers asked volunteers to rate how attractive the student was on a 10-point scale. After rating each student, researchers found women perceived to be better looking had higher grades on average.
The trend did not hold true for male students.
Attractive people are more sought after as romantic partners.
Researchers at Chapman University studied what traits people view are “desirable” or “essential” in a long-term partner. The study found that 92% of male participants reported wanting a potential partner to be good looking, compared to 84% of women.