Ever noticed that good looking people often seem to do better in the workplace than average looking folk? According to Catherine Hakim, professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, attractive people are more likely to be given a job in the first place and then to be promoted.
Hakim refers to attractiveness as ‘erotic capital’ and argues that it is something both men and women often exploit, albeit unwittingly. Men and women who are blessed with good looks, liveliness, good dress sense and great social skills are immediately more attractive to colleagues and business contacts as well as friends and partners. As she says, ‘These people only have to smile at the world and the world smiles with them’. As a result, she adds, they are more able to persuade colleagues to cooperate with them, more successful at attracting clients and selling products and consequently likely to earn more money. In fact, a number of studies have shown that attractive people earn more than those with more average looks. Good looking men earn 17 per cent more whilst attractive women earn, on average, 12 per cent more than their plainer counterparts.
So why is this? Are we really so naive that we believe attractive men and women will do their job better? The answer seems to be yes. A study by the British Columbia University found that we tend to assume that attractive people are more competent, more intelligent and more friendly. The researchers concluded that we pay more attention to good looking people and are likely to exaggerate their qualities. If pretty Ellie is quite organized, we are likely to see her as very organized. If attractive Joe is quite generous, we will see him as being very generous. To paraphrase co-author of the study, Jeremy Biesanz, not only do we judge books by their covers, we also pay more attention to the ones with beautiful covers. We are motivated to pay beautiful people closer attention by a number of factors such as romantic interest, desire for greater social status, for friendship and even plain curiosity.
The importance of a great smile
Is there any good news for those of us who are not blessed with supermodel looks? Yes! Fortunately, the quality that Catherine Hakim defines as erotic capital is something that can be cultivated. Dressing stylishly is of paramount importance. After all, marketing teaches us that attractive packaging boosts sales. Why should we be any different? An elegant suit, a stylish haircut will go a long way to boost your erotic capital. For women, discreet make up and a subtle perfume all add to the overall effect of attractiveness. Great teeth are the final touch but if you are embarrassed by your smile, it is worth considering wearing invisible braces to straighten your teeth or having them whitened at dental practices such as Invisalign Cardiif Dentistry http://cathedraldentalclinic.com.
Much as we might like to deny it, good looks do matter in the workplace and, for many, the way you look is almost as important a factor in career advancement as the qualifications you worked so hard to achieve.