The more attractive you are, the more money you'll make was a belief long-held by scientists, who referred to it as a "beauty premium." A new study disputes its existence.
A study from the Journal of Business and Psychology found that being above average in the looks department isn't really how you earn a paycheck bump.
The study measured the correlation between attractiveness and income of 20,745 participants. They based it on a five-point scale that looked at four different points in a worker's life between the ages of 16 and 29.
The journal found that very attractive participants did make more money than their less attractive counterparts but so did those deemed very unattractive. In fact, those in the study found to be very unattractive always earned more than those who were considered just unattractive, and sometimes more than average-looking or attractive respondents. The scientists in this study considered this to be an "ugliness premium" instead of what previous studies said was a penalty.
The findings of the Journal of Business and Psychology's study, though, aren't actually based on looks. Unlike previous studies, this one looked at the health, intelligence, and personality of those involved. It found that these traits were the real reason people were paid more.
Very attractive people make more because they're healthy, smart and have better personalities. "Better," in this study, meant these people were more extroverted and conscientious, less neurotic. Very unattractive people also tested higher in these three categories, resulting in higher salaries.
When it comes to getting a high-paying job, it's not what's on the outside that counts but what's on the inside. Be a better person, and you may just get a better salary.