Beauty is in the Eyes of the Employer

Photo: loleia

In a recent survey of cosmetic surgeons, it was discovered that people seem more willing than ever to foot the bill for plastic surgery despite today’s dour economic climate.

What is most interesting, however, is that it has been suggested that an increasing number of patients are undergoing the procedures with the hopes that looking better (assuming that plastic surgery will make them look better, which is not always the case) will also give them a leg up in today’s competitive job market.

According to the survey, surgeons are busier than ever and are reporting about a 30% increase in the number of new patients, though most of them are requesting less expensive and less invasive procedures like Botox injections or skin peels. Big ticket operations like facelifts are actually on the decline, commensurate with the lean economic times. What is really interesting about the results is that some of the doctors alluded to their patients wanting to look better in their search for a new job.

Upon reading the actual results, it may have been a bit presumptuous to say that people are going under the knife to help them in their job hunt, since there is no actual hard data to support this and the relationship seems anecdotal, at best. Even still, it is interesting to note that appointments are on the rise at a time when an increasing number of people are out of work.

With this in mind, is it such a stretch to think that looking better might improve your chances of landing a job? Maybe not, when you consider that we live in a culture that values youth and beauty, where it is nearly impossible to avoid being bombarded with images of attractive celebrities who have carte blanche into a world that the average person has no access to. Granted, they are rich and famous, but perhaps their beauty might have played a role in all that.

Even our own distinguished Paul Michael has expressed an interest for more ample cleavage in the hopes that it might help assist him in various endeavors, and his logic is not without merit. In fact, it’s been documented.

In a study by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, it was determined that attractive people earned better salaries, on the order of 5% more than their less attractive counterparts. The findings took into account education and experience, and found that attractiveness was an asset across all occupations. If that isn’t enough, the study determined that people with below-average looks actually suffered from a 9% decrease in earnings.

And the reality is, plastic surgery has become increasingly acceptable, not to mention accessible, to the mainstream public. In 2006 over 11 million Americans had some sort of cosmetic procedure done on them. Furthermore, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons , almost a quarter of a million of them were teens between the ages of 13-19. Believe it or not, plastic surgery has become a popular graduation present.

While it can’t be overstated that beauty comes from the inside and is of course a very personal issue, it is interesting to consider the role that our looks play in so many aspect of our lives, including getting a job.

After all, there is no denying that when searching for employment, appearances do matter. When most people go on interviews, they make some effort to project a good impression. They might wash and comb their hair or shave, or choose to wear a nice outfit; maybe even a suit or tie. It’s been known to happen.

All of this is done in order to project a certain image, and while the ultimate criteria for getting a job should (and probably does) boil down to your experience and qualifications, and keeping in mind that attractiveness is ultimately a matter of opinion, perhaps improving upon your looks isn’t such a bad strategic decision. It probably wouldn’t hurt, and at the very least might give you more confidence.

So in the end, maybe beauty really is in the eyes of the employer.

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Guest's picture

As I am aging I have thought about this a bit more... pure vanity, but I wouldn't mind having some teeth whitening done...

maybe some face stuff too.. (I am getting more zits now than when I was a teenager, it probably has to do with my vigorous workout schedule now).

Now that I think about it, maybe some hair implants/transplants; though I do like my shaved head.. and.. well.. the last could go on and on, sometimes you've gotta be happy with what ya got!

Guest's picture

It always helps to be attractive - that's why we wear fresh clothes and wash and brush our teeth, among other things. There are, however, many standards of attractiveness - & the media doesn't have the only one. It's the choice du jour & may very well change at a moment's notice! But we can always strive to be, as a colleague once said to me "you on a good day"! So analyze your features & get the best haircut & take care of your skin and hair - Dress to emphasize your good points - and keep up with styles so you don't look dated or like an old fogy.
My motto is to try to keep everything from sagging FIRST - so indulge in some maintenance before surgery would be called for! There is so much great, not expensive stuff for that nowadays. I used to scrub my face to defoliate it - but now all I have to do is have an anti-aging cream, and it brightens my complexion for me. (Alphahydroxies DO work.) Ditto eye cream!

Guest's picture

I wonder what it's like to find out that you're getting paid more than all of the other people you work with and you happen to be the hot chick in the office.

I honestly and not all that surprised that pretty people get more money overall. I think that humans just tend to gravitate to them ...

Maggie Wells's picture

Including myself! It's hard to get the job after the interview if you aren't camera ready in Los Angeles and it doesn't matter how great your resume is. Case in point is my best friend who is just dynamite at PR but heavy. While even though everyone knows we online works have our butts literally growing into our one sees them yet so we're safe from the scrutiny. 



Margaret Garcia-Couoh

Maggie Wells's picture

Including myself! It's hard to get the job after the interview if you aren't camera ready in Los Angeles and it doesn't matter how great your resume is. Case in point is my best friend who is just dynamite at PR but heavy. While even though everyone knows we online works have our butts literally growing into our one sees them yet so we're safe from the scrutiny. 



Margaret Garcia-Couoh

Fred Lee's picture

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for the comments. You'd think that in an enlightened (?) society like ours that you'd get by with your abilities, but I know better. 

Margaret, I grew up in LA and know firsthand what sort of standards everybody is held up to. It's not always realistic, is it? There's a certain generic look of beauty that people seem to strive for, and the standards are high.

Beth, while I don't know what it's like to be the hot chick in the office, I have actually met a few in my life and am struck by how much they exploit their "assets" to their advantage. At times it was shameless, but it sure worked in their favor.

Pam, I'm in complete agreement with the healthy maintenance approach. Besides, I've found that in many, not all, cases of cosmetic surgery, you can often tell that somethings been tweaked and it often looks a bit off. The more cutting involved, the worse this gets. And you can't beat natural beauty, free from too much intervention. That sort of glow comes from the inside.

And funkyright, it's true that you gotta be happy with what you got. If you can embrace that way of thinking, life would be so much easier. I've always found people who are comfortable in their own skin and happy with themselves to be the most attractive. It's that healthy, happy radiance that no amount of surgery or makeup can beat.

Guest's picture

Wow, this is timely, considering I have two interviews today!
I am clean and attractive and am not fogyish at all...alphahydroxies, eye cream - yes! Thank you!

Behavior plays a big part. The way you walk, enunciate, carry yourself plays a lot. HEALTH....

Excellent post/comments.

Guest's picture

i think for a lot of people, it isn't prettiness they're after so much as YOUTH. job hunting after a certain age, and in certain youth-dominated fields, you really are at a disadvantage. and so many people are trying to launch second (or third or fourth) careers in midlife, i can understand why they'd want to appear younger. it's especially stupid when you consider that careers now are longer than they used to be ... a new career begun at 50 is not going to necessarily end in ten years time but could well go on deep into a second decade.

that said, i totally want to have my teeth whitened. :-)