Bright Side

People Who Are “Very Unattractive” Earn a Lot More Money, a Study Claims

It makes more sense to think that the better looking someone is, the more they’ll get paid. In fact, a lot of studies agreed with this, one even found that attractive people earn about 20% more than less attractive people. But a more recent study actually found the opposite to be true. Things might be looking up for those who are seen as lacking beauty, after all.

We at Bright Side dug deeper to understand the logic behind the interesting finding of the study.

Being unattractive reels in a bigger salary.

A 2018 study followed 20,745 16-year-old Americans until they turned 29 to see how big their earnings would be and whether their attractiveness would affect how much they would earn. The results were surprising because the very unattractive people always earned a lot more than the unattractive people and sometimes more than the better-looking people.

It’s hard to explain why this is the way it is, but it might be because of expectations. There are likely to be higher expectations for beautiful people and when they don’t perform, it would be too obvious to not penalize them for it. Whereas, there would be lower expectations for people who lack beauty but when they perform well, it impresses others enough that they are seen as deserving of rewards.

This proves previous studies might be wrong.

The study also tries to compare their methods to previous studies to understand why they came up with a completely different result. A 2011 study, for example, found that people who are easier on the eyes are on average more likely to be employed and earn higher wages.

One of the reasons why the 2018 study might be more accurate is that other studies simply lump “very unattractive” and “unattractive” into one category. Another reason is that prior studies did not consider health, intelligence, and personality factors. It seems that gorgeous people are likely to earn more than not-so-gorgeous people, but only if all of them share a similar level of health, intellect, and charisma.

However, there might be exceptions.

Since the study specifically compared participants’ salaries at the age of 29, it could be argued that in their 30s and 50s, this may not be true after all. In one study, it was found that having a pretty face, or not, can impact mid-and late-career earnings significantly. Therefore, more studies are needed to see if being very unattractive would still bring in a higher income in the later years.

In your own life, do you think that beauty pays better or that being less attractive has better perks? Share the stories with us of how you or anyone you know has used looks to jump up the career ladder.