BGU releases study on beauty discrimination in job hiring

Researchers find that "attractive" females less likely to get job interviews than "plain-looking" women when sending photo with resume.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
November 28, 2010 14:39
1 minute read.
Anglo Olim attend job fair in Baka

Job fair 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerzolomiski)

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have found that "attractive" women are called back for job positions less often than "plain-looking" women when sending pictures with their resumes.

The new study, titled "Are Good-Looking People More Employable?" proves that there is a double standard between "good looks" as a positive factor in men compared to women, according to a statement released Sunday.

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The research was based on 5,312 CVs sent out in pairs to 2,656 advertised job positions in Israel. In each pair, one CV contained a photo while the other, which was nearly identical, contained a picture of an "attractive" man or woman or a "plain-looking" man or woman.

The dependent variable was based on whether the employer contacted the candidate for an interview, with the overall response rate being 14.5 percent. 

Attractive males received a 19.9% rate of response, nearly 50% higher than plain-looking males' 13.7% response rate and more than twice the 9.2% response rate of males' resumes without pictures.

"It follows that an attractive male needs to send on average five CVs in order to obtain one response, whereas a plain-looking male needs to send 11 for a single response," said Ze'ev Shtudiner, co-researcher and Ph.D candidate at BGU.

In contrast, among women, the study reveals that attractive women are less likely to be called be for a position than "plain-looking" women and those without a picture on their CVs. Interestingly, among women candidates, no-picture females got the highest response rate, 22% higher than plain-looking females and 30% percent higher than attractive females.

The authors said the "findings on penalization of attractive women contradict current psychology and organizational behavior literature on beauty that associate attractiveness, male and female alike, with almost every conceivable positive trait and disposition."

As a result, the researchers say attractive and plain women are both better off not submitting a photo with their resume since it lowers their chances of getting a call back by 20 to 30%.


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