How your weight shapes your income in the workplace


We all know that biases exist in the workplace when it comes to body weight, but a new study has actually quantified how much (or less) you’ll earn based on your weight.

The Journal of Applied Psychology‘s aptly titled article, “When it comes to pay, do the thin win? The effect of weight on pay for men and women,” finds that men and women are judged very differently when it comes to weight on the job. (Editor’s note: The link in this paragraph is a pdf file.)

Women who were up to 25 pounds thinner than the control group in the study made an average of $16,000 more annually than women who were normal weight. Meanwhile, very thin men tended to make $8,000 less than their normal and slightly overweight counterparts.

As a society, we’re taught to like our guys brawny and our women really thin. Employers are human too and take visual cues and then discriminate or reward in pay based on appearance.

Now, I’m not asking you to be something you’re not in terms of your body weight. In fact, I’m really talking here to employers: You’ve got to fight against your own innate prejudices in how you treat people when you’re hiring and promoting.

All too often, employers rely on the wrong person and promote the wrong person because we as humans are so visual. Why should you as an employer care about overcoming this innate trait? Well, you’re in business to make more money and be more successful, right?

So when it’s time for promotions, consider this: Think about the person who you know does great work, but you kind of forget they’re there. That’s the person who’s going to make you more dough.

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