New study: Your body shape can have a big impact on your salary

A new study from the University of Iowa has found that shorter men and more obese women earn significantly less that their taller and thinner colleagues.

The scholars were able to calculate the amount of the premium paid for height and trimness in study participants. The men tended to earn an extra $1,000 per year for every extra centimetre of height. Women saw an increase of $1,000 in salary for each lower point in Body Mass Index.

For this study, researchers examined data from 2,383 volunteers, including full body scans as well as information about their family income and their gender.

“The findings showed that there is a statistically significant relationship between physical appearance and family income and that these associations differ across genders,” Study lead author Suyong Song told PsyPost. “In particular, the male’s stature has a positive impact on family income, whereas the female’s obesity has a negative impact on family income.”

The study authors suggest that employers and policy makers include the body shapes of individuals when it comes to creating public guidelines on mitigating discrimination and bias.

Song explains, “Our findings also highlight importance of correctly measuring body shapes to provide adequate public policies for improving healthcare and mitigating discrimination and bias in the labor market. We suggest that (1) efforts to promote the awareness of such discrimination must occur through workplace ethics/non-discrimination training; and (2) mechanisms to minimize the invasion of bias throughout hiring and promotion processes, such as blind interviews, should be encouraged.”

There has long been rumours of a ‘beauty premium’ in salaries, where so-called attractive people earn more money than their less attractive counterparts. This has been difficult to scientifically measure, since attractiveness is subjective.

This new study is unique in that it focuses solely on measurable data – body mass and height.

This study, “Body shape matters: Evidence from machine learning on body shape-income relationship“, was published July 30, 2021 in the journal PLOS One. You can read the full paper here.

See also: Study finds attractive women viewed as less truthful, more fireable.

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