The majority of British people believe there is a beauty bias in the workplace that favours those who are deemed most attractive, with one-fifth considering a cosmetic procedure in order to improve their career prospects.
According to new research conducted by Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, 72% of people believe there is a beauty bias in the workplace, with 28% saying they are treated more positively at work as a direct result of the way they look.
Participants rated themselves on a scale from ‘extremely attractive’ to ‘extremely unattractive’, and nearly half (44%) of those who considered themselves ‘very attractive’ or ‘extremely attractive’ said they were treated more positively at work due to the way they look, compared to 6% of ‘unattractive’ or ‘extremely unattractive’ respondents.
One respondent said:
“I definitely think that people who are more beautiful are taken more seriously than those who aren’t. I’ve seen this in action in the workplace.”
Michael Saul, head of Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, said: “We urge employees to take steps to ensure personal subjectivity does not influence their interpersonal relationships at work, and encourage businesses to create an impartial working environment by checking that they are, at all times, practising fair workplace processes that do not inversely reward or punish members of staff based on their looks.”
At the other end of the scale, 24% of ‘unattractive’ or ‘extremely unattractive’ respondents said they were treated negatively at work due to their appearance, compared to 7% of the ‘very’ or ‘extremely attractively’ respondents.
Of the ‘unattractive’ or ‘extremely unattractive’ respondents, 23% said they would consider a cosmetic procedure if it would improve their career, compared to 6% of the ‘very’ or ‘extremely attractive’ participants.
For those participants who have already had cosmetic surgery, 13% reported being treated more positively in the workplace, while one third (33%), reported no change.
Michael Saul, said:
“It is clear that employees feel their appearance affects how they are treated in the workplace, and the knock-on effects can have a long-lasting impact on someone’s confidence and self-esteem, but unfortunately there are no guarantees that a cosmetic procedure of any kind can improve a person’s career prospects. I’d encourage anyone considering surgery to thoroughly research all their options first.”
The survey also found that nearly half (49%) believe that a person’s physical attractiveness should be protected from discrimination during the job interview process, in the same way as it is illegal to treat someone less favourably because of a personal characteristic, such as their race, age, gender or disability.
However, the more attractive a person believes him or herself to be, the less willing they are to give attractiveness a protected status: 46% of ‘attractive’ respondents were in favour of putting regulations in place, compared to 71% of those who said they were ‘unattractive’ or ‘extremely unattractive’.