Look Like a Million When Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Is it a question of “Beauty OR Brains” that influences one’s success in the work force?

New research conducted by Timothy Judge, PhD, a management professor at the University of Florida, suggests replacing that “OR” with an “AND.” His research appears in the May issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association.

Attractiveness will definitely be integral to your landing jobs, but one’s intelligence quotient gives one the edge when climbing the salary ladder.

“Little is known about why there are income disparities between the good-looking and the not-so-good-looking. We’ve found that even accounting for intelligence, a person’s feeling of self-worth is enhanced by how attractive they are, and this in turn, results in higher pay.”

Judge and his team analyzed data from the Harvard Study of Health and Life Quality. 191 men and women between the ages of 25 and 75, each interviewed three times, six months apart beginning in 1995, answered queries about household income, financial strain, education, and also evaluated how happy or disappointed they were with their achievements up to that time. After completing several intelligence and cognitive tests to gauge mental ability they had their photographs taken.

Scientific researchers averaged the results of six ratings of each person’s attractiveness, relative to their age and gender.

Significantly, the researchers found that physical attractiveness had a significant impact not only on how much people got paid, but how educated they were and how they evaluated themselves. They found that people who were rated as good-looking made more money, were better educated, and more confident.

But a person’s intelligence affected their income more than their looks did.

“We can be somewhat heartened by the fact that the effects of general intelligence on income were stronger than those of facial attractiveness,” Judge and colleagues write. “It turns out that the
brainy are not necessarily at a disadvantage to the beautiful, and if one possesses intelligence and good looks, then all the better.”

It became readily apparent that good-looking people do tend to highly assess their worth and capabilities, which may lead to less financial stress and more money.

“Moreover, the effects of self-concept are particularly noteworthy. Its effects on income are stronger than those of attractiveness and nearly as strong as those of intelligence. The influence of core self-evaluations on both income and financial strain underlines the critical role it can play in both objective and subjective life success,” the researchers say.

Validation is not just a feel-good exercise, but a key ingredient to the successful life.

21. May 2009 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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