Being deemed physically attractive at work certainly gives you an advantage over someone less desirable.
There’s a clear pay gap between those deemed good-looking over people less appealing. Beauty increases confidence and can even get you more call-backs when it comes to interviewing.
But beauty can also give those fortunate enough another advantage in the office by influencing what type of perks a company offers an employee, according to a new study.
New research published in Economic and Human Biology found that attractiveness can predict the number of “fringe benefits” an employee receives, both in men and women.
The study, headed by Maryam Dilmaghani, wanted to see how beauty influenced job perks such as health insurance, vacation offerings, pension, paid parental leave, and other benefits.
While previous studies have certainly shown how attraction can dictate the way one moves up the ladder, Dilmaghani’s study is thought to be the first of its kind since it specifically hones in on benefits, which are pretty important in today’s workforce.
A study from 2019 found that 30% of employees would take less salary for better benefits as employees begin to put health and well-being in front of monetary success. It’s never been more clear than now in the coronavirus pandemic how important benefits as well.
Dilmaghani used data from Canada General Social Survey in 2016, which featured responses from 3,250 men and 5,253 women. In that report, respondents were asked questions on physical attraction which were ranked on a point-based scale.
Additionally, respondents were questioned on the type of benefits they receive from a company such as “pension, paid sick leave, paid vacation, paid parental leave, disability insurance, supplementary medical and dental insurance, worker’s compensation plan, and ‘Other’,” PsyPost reported.
The study’s author considered things such as how attraction can boost one’s confidence, and how previous research has shown that confidence often means better wages at work. But even with this sidebar, Dilmaghani found attraction plays a big role in determining who receives what benefits.
In other words, less attractive people did not receive the same benefits as people who were more attractive.
The study had its drawbacks, including that the measure of physical attractiveness was self-reported and susceptible to bias. Still, the study’s findings were substantial and warrant future investigation.
“Examined for the first time,” Dilmaghani notes, “the data strongly point to the existence of a fringe benefit penalty for unattractiveness. Given that the penalty was robustly present in the subsample of workers with a university education and a perfect education-job match, the possibility of discrimination cannot be excluded.”
“At equal level of earnings, more attractive individuals appear able to secure higher quality jobs, as measured by the number of fringe benefits,” the author wrote. “The results, hence, suggest that the effects of attractiveness on labour market outcomes cannot be fully captured by a separate examination of earnings and the hiring process.”