Why do attractive people like attractive people

Beauty bonus - are attractive people more successful at work?

Do beautiful people actually earn more? This is a question that has preoccupied our society for a long time. After all, we live in a superficial world in which we always compare ourselves with others - also in terms of appearance. A new study is now debunking the surprising answer.

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1. "Beauty" - what is it actually?
2. So: are beautiful people more successful or not?
3. But: Different study - different results
4. Conclusion: Yes, beautiful people are more successful - but “beauty” is complex!

“Beauty” - what is it actually?

It is said that beautiful people have it easier in life and at work. Beauty has always fascinated authors, poets, painters & Co. Above all, the "beautiful woman" can be found as a leitmotif in numerous ancient works. And even today, almost all bestsellers, chart hits or Hollywood films are always about one topic: beauty - usually in combination with being in love or lovesickness. But beauty is known to be in the eye of the beholder. A common saying goes:

"True beauty comes from within."

We tend to find people beautiful who, on the one hand, appear (or look) healthy and, on the other hand, have a very special charisma. Nevertheless, there are also purely external characteristics in a person's appearance, which are perceived by the majority of society as beautiful - or ugly. The exciting thing is: The definition of purely external beauty differs depending on the culture. So in this country we tan for hours in the sun in summer, while the Chinese try to prevent any tanning of their skin with hats, clothing and a cool place in the shade. And that's just one example of many ...

So: are beautiful people more successful or not?

Despite the cultural differences, people are amazingly in agreement about which faces they find beautiful and which not. Researchers have therefore been trying to identify the “formula of beauty” for many years. Some keywords have already been mentioned. In principle, we think people are beautiful

  • look healthy.
  • have a special (positive) charisma.
  • appear confident.
  • have symmetrical facial features.
  • have smooth, wrinkle-free skin.

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Satoshi Kanazawa (London School of Economics) and Mary Still (University of Massachusetts) have dealt with whether these “beautiful” people really have it easier in (professional) life. The results, which are controversial to this day, were then published in the "Journal of Business and Psychology" and read as follows:

Beauty is not (only) decisive for professional success - measured in terms of income.

Instead, the researchers came to the conclusion that intelligence, health and an extrovert, open and positive personality are primarily responsible for a high income. According to Satoshi Kanazawa and Mary Still, there is therefore no such thing as a “beauty bonus”, as it is repeatedly discussed in public. But the study is controversial: According to experts, the “unattractive” comparison group is too small and the results too unspecific.

But: Different study - different results

So let's take another look at another study on the subject. Eva Sierminska dealt with the same question in Germany in 2015: "Does it pay to be beautiful?" (Source: IZA World of Labor). She came to clearer results:

  • Above all, attractiveness increases professional success in those sectors in which the job is closely linked to appearance. In other words: With a salesperson, his external appearance makes a bigger difference than with a computer scientist.
  • This means that attractive people choose jobs with more social contacts from the outset, while unattractive people tend to feel more comfortable in jobs in which their appearance does not matter.
  • In some cases, Eva Sierminska observed that less attractive employees actually had to perform better than their “beautiful” colleagues for the same wage. The other way around it means: Nicer people are (sometimes) better paid for the same performance.
  • The amount of the “beauty bonus” varies depending on the country and culture.
  • There are also differences between men and women. Surprisingly, the preference for handsome men is stronger (five to seven percent more income than unattractive men) than their beautiful female colleagues (two to four percent more income than unattractive women).

And the job is by no means the only area of ​​life in which attractiveness can give you an advantage:


You can find more statistics at Statista

Nevertheless, there are also one or two criticisms of Eva Sierminska's study:

  • There is no uniform definition of beauty or attractiveness.
  • The "measurability" of beauty therefore creates difficulties in empirical research.
  • The charisma, self-confidence and personality of a person also have an influence on their subjectively perceived beauty - but also on his professional success regardless of the mere appearance.
  • It is therefore almost impossible to isolate the “beauty” factor and to consider it independently or to make its effects measurable.
  • In addition, other influences on income are difficult to unravel, such as a person's actual productivity, their soft skills or their social contacts.
  • International comparisons are difficult in terms of cultural differences in what is considered “beautiful”.

Conclusion: Yes, beautiful people are more successful - but “beauty” is complex!

In the end, both studies are right: Beautiful people are more successful in their professional life and earn a higher income. But: Beauty goes beyond the external appearance. Factors such as self-confidence, health, charisma, charisma, intelligence or extroversion also influence the subjectively perceived attractiveness of a person on the one hand and their professional success on the other.


You can find more statistics at Statista

So if you find yourself unattractive, you don't have to run straight to the beauty doctor or find a job where your appearance doesn't matter. Instead, work on your self-esteem,

Reading tip: "Strengthening self-confidence: tips & exercises for more self-confidence"

Your charisma,

Reading tip: "Learning charisma: 13 tips for more charisma"

or get a new hairstyle:

Reading tip: "Hairy affair: the perfect hairstyle for a steep career"

Even these small measures can increase your attractiveness as well as your professional success and at the same time increase your well-being in your own body. So true beauty actually (also) comes from within. And as you have already learned, you will be perceived by your counterpart as "more beautiful" than you think. It is therefore urgently time to be a little more relaxed about the topic of beauty.

"True beauty knows nothing of its beauty."
(Michael Wollmann)

What do you personally find beautiful? And would you consider yourself attractive or not? Which preference of attractive people at work have you perhaps already experienced or observed yourself? In your opinion, what could and should be done about the “beauty bonus”? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Photo credit: SeventyFour / Shutterstock.com

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