Women who wear make-up to work get paid more, study finds

Ciara Sheppard
Contributor Yahoo Style UK
The study sought to determine a link between income and effort-based attractiveness. [Photo: Getty]

Another day, another unfair beauty standard women have to deal with that men don’t: wearing make-up to work.

Why? Because apparently, not wearing it could mean you’re paid less.

Yes, seriously: a new study by sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner has found that women who were “well-groomed” earned a considerable amount more than those who were considered not.

The study sought to determine a link between income and effort-based attractiveness by collecting data from over 14,000 employees.

This was collated as part of a long-running national study in which interviewers asked the subjects people about things like income, job, and education.

The same interviewers also rated each of these people on their grooming — which included factors like a hairstyle, clothing, and, in the case of females, make-up.

The study collected data from over 14,000 employees. [Photo: Getty]

The study found that well-groomed women of ‘average attractiveness’ made around £4,500 more annually than an average-looking, averagely-groomed woman.

She also makes about £3,000 more than her more attractive, but less well-groomed co-worker.

As for men, there was a much smaller boost for good grooming. Surprise, surprise.

Backing up previous studies, the study also found a correlation between ‘physical attractiveness’ and income, which the interviewers were also asked to rate the employees on.

It found attractive individuals earn roughly 20% more than people of average attractiveness.

However, this figure was closed dramatically when grooming was taken into consideration.

“You can access the rewards that you typically think of being for attractiveness through grooming,” says Penner.

Should you really be penalised for your grooming habits? [Photo: Getty]

“The big takeaway here is that people can capture most of the attractiveness premium” by working on their grooming, says Penner. “It’s not just what you’re born with.”

Fair enough, but we’re inclined to think he’s missed the point: should you really be penalised for what you look for in the workplace at all?

Of course you should adhere to workplace dress codes, and looking scruffy or having bad hygiene is an understandable reason for subconscious discrimination – but can you really judge someone for not wearing a full face of make-up or having freshly manicured nails every day?

Shouldn’t intelligence, efficiency, commitment and good work ethics be rewarded instead of looks?

Based on this study, it seems we still have a LONG way to go.

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