Success seems to favour the tall, good-looking
By Jason Buckland, Sympatico / MSN Finance
Because it is largely immeasurable, it’s been tough to pin down once and for all that beauty is a prerequisite for success.
Sure, there’s been sentiment that society favours the good-looking, but rarely has a quantifiable analysis popped up to defend the notion beyond simple speculation and water-cooler talk.
While, granted, this Financial Post article isn’t exactly irrefutable, I’ve yet to find a better attempt to prove the merits of looks (and height) in the corporate world.
Author Ray B. Williams draws on some interesting sources to prove his thesis, arguing “there’s lots of evidence to show that people have gained success in their careers because they are taller and more attractive."
Of the more intriguing points, Williams references an Institute of Social and Economic Research study that points to a connection between popularity in high school and earning power later in life. Now, this isn’t to say that only the good-looking kids were cool from grades 9-12, but when you consider this U of Florida psychology report also suggests attractive people get more of almost everything* from birth, it throws a little extra weight behind the theory.
(*In this case, everything is defined as medical attention in the hospital, attention from teachers/peers in school and anything that would lead to a “positive spiral toward better self image and higher attainment through life,” according to the Post.)
Williams also tackles the issue of height leading to success. Apparently, not only do studies show that an inch of height over the average can be worth an extra $1,000 of income each year, but the typical height of CEOs of major North American corporations is 6’2”. Not sure exactly where those stats come from, but if they seem as preposterous to you as they did to me, consider this:
Nowhere, writes Williams, is the correlation between height and career success more dominant than in politics, specifically inside the post of the most powerful man in the world. Of the 43 American presidents, only five have been below average height and we haven’t seen one of those since Benjamin Harrison in 1888.
What’s also interesting here is that, according to a University of Pennsylvania study, the psyche developed in high school has even more to do with your potential for earning power than ever thought before. Tall men who were short in high school often earn in a way typical of taller men, while short men who were considered tall in high school are said to display the earning characteristics of shorter men. (Confused yet?)
To add more beef to the height argument, the trend applies equally to female workers as it does men. The average height of prominent female CEOs is 5’9”, well over the standard for the rest of North American women.
If this all comes as a bit depressing to you, you’re not alone. Despite the lengths we seem to have made in regard to civil rights, equal opportunity and the like, it sure seems – at least – that we’re not as unbiased as we enjoy considering ourselves. Probably safe to suggest we should all take on some of the blame here, too.
Posted by: PD | Jun 23, 2021 12:07:32 PM
Another waste of money to discover the obvious. This is not exactly ground breaking news.
Guess what else? Most women prefer a spouse that is taller than themselves.
Posted by: Dee Kay | Jun 23, 2021 1:52:56 PM
Good looks only goes so far........I prefer someone that when he opens his mouth to speak, he is an eloquent, intelligent speaker. Thank you.
Posted by: jackdiamond | Jun 23, 2021 2:18:51 PM
Maybe this is the reason North American corps are in such a mess. Beauty over brains.
Posted by: Lisa | Jun 23, 2021 2:31:37 PM
I have to agree with this article, it is true (whether we want to believe it or not). I often see people who are better looking and taller then the rest of us excel faster in their career (whether they can actually do the job or not). I also look forward to my career potential as I'm taller than the average woman, so things look good! lol
Posted by: MS | Jun 23, 2021 3:34:31 PM
Good looking people are less depressed (they don't have to worry about their appearance) which works in favour in the advancement of their careers. Since they have a good physical appearance, they can carry themselves with ease, and thus given a job, they are in a better position to take risks. Also in a crowd, comments from good looking people are better acknowledged.
Posted by: Tracy | Jun 23, 2021 4:00:33 PM
You don't have any disagreement from me. I've been telling people that for years. Imagine if the tall people made it politically incorrect to say tall people get more breaks in life and earn more money they don't deserve because people perceive them to be more competent than they actually are. I'm not tall but I acheived success through education and endless hard work. Try it for twenty years, you'll like it. Isn't the politically correct thing to do is give the good job to a woman, minority, or other person who did not earn their way fully and bypass any of the true acheivers. When you hire only acheivers of any identifiable group, beware, you'll be pistol whipped into hiring what the politically correct crowd says you should hire.
Posted by: Katy | Jun 23, 2021 4:13:27 PM
Statistics... need to be thoroughly defined - every time! Height is usually correlated to socio-economic group, because historically, good food is a variable of social status. In other words, people who are in the upper socioeconomic groups tend to be taller, and tend to have taller offspring. And guess what - being in an upper socioeconomic group also tends to mean a better education, more opportunity and a better job. Is it the height or the socioeconomic group?
And attractiveness as a measure of popularity in high school... so pretty girls are more popular at high school and end up with better jobs? Are we talking women or men? Are men more popular in high school because they are good looking, or because of their personality, or something they can do? This one isn't at all obvious.
There is one serious 'fact' in this article used in a proposition - an inch of height = $1,000 per year, on average.
I find this whole thing hard to take. Honestly, I don't care how tall or pretty my brain surgeon or stock broker is, I care about the results they can get. If you look at professions where looks 'count', such as hollywood actors or waitresses, sure, statistically, the odds are that looks do make a difference to earning power. But what about all the statistics that show that having better qualifications makes a huge difference to earnings, or all the statistics that show that having the right parents makes a huge difference to earnings, or all the statistics that show that having a high IQ makes a huge difference to earnings?
Pshaw. This article is asking me to lie down with the dogs - no thanks !
Posted by: Mika | Jun 23, 2021 6:52:27 PM
Research shows that on average, attractive people often have higher IQ than less attractive people.
Posted by: Heather | Jun 24, 2021 3:28:21 AM
Well, thank god I am 5'9 then...come to think of it....life has been good! Cheers
Posted by: Sah | Jun 24, 2021 2:40:12 PM
Tracy said : "Isn't the politically correct thing to do is give the good job to a woman, minority, or other person who did not earn their way fully and bypass any of the true acheivers. When you hire only acheivers of any identifiable group, beware, you'll be pistol whipped into hiring what the politically correct crowd says you should hire."
Tracy, you could not have come across more close-minded than this. Why would you assume that the "woman, minority or other person" being hired "did not earn their way fully and bypassed any true achievers"? Has it ever occurred to you that they are just as capable or even more so, but without equal opportunity laws would likely have been overlooked due to personal prejudices (conscious or subconscious) of the hiring personnel, or other factors? Thinking like yours is what's basically wrong with society....it's the year 2009, get with the times.
Posted by: buffalo | Jul 16, 2021 12:30:21 PM
I sat in a bakery yesterday a short man came in the girl ( very pretty) was in the kitchen. Another fellow walks in very tall and handsome then a third man tall and not so handsome, as the girl returned to the till I watched in amusement. For as I predicted She asked the tall handsome guy first
then the other tall guy and then the short fella. The really amusing part was how the short guy even
though he was first was too timid to stand up for himself. the tall guy took his coffee and left ( I guess he thought his time was more important than the short guy, and it probably was cause he looked like a ceo) then when she asked the next tallest person he refered her to the short guy who finally got his coffee and donut. I totally agree with these statements tall good looking people do succed easier and faster than the rest which is a result of many factors . select breeding Rich men marry tall beautiful women, dont believe me go to any private school and take a look at the mothers picking up the kids or just look at the kids. the are taller better looking and whiter than public school kids. tall people get more breaks because they can. thank goodness that just makes us little guys even better cause we have to try harder so I guess it all works out. I just try to treat everyone the same and hope that others do the same.