Being a good looking man may hinder your career: Study

Research shows male colleagues tend to be reluctant in promoting the ones that are better looking than themselves

Entertainment Desk December 12, 2015
Research shows male colleagues tend to be reluctant in promoting the ones that are better looking than themselves. PHOTO: PAKIUM

Where women are likely to be promoted on the basis of their good looks, men may have to face hurdles for the same reason.

A recent study suggests that being handsome can prove to be a barrier in a man's professional growth as male colleagues tend to be reluctant in promoting the ones that are better looking than themselves, reports The Telegraph.


A group of researchers from University College London's School of Management found that good looking men were considered competent. Therefore, they are perceived as a threat in the workplace.

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They are often denied competitive roles that requires individual talent such as sales and investment banking, but are picked for tasks rewarding team performances instead as it enables the decision maker to advance their own career.

The study -- co-authored by academics from the London Business School and the University of Maryland -- also concluded that the findings do not apply to women as being pretty is not considered to be competent among female stereotypes in a workplace.

"Organisations want to hire competent candidates but individuals have their own agenda."

"When employing someone, they do not want the newcomer to do better than them and show them up," Dr Sun Young Lee, an assistant professor of organisational behaviour at UCL and the lead researcher, told The Telegraph.

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The study was conducted on 870 volunteers who had undergone four experiments. Participants were asked to choose out of a number of candidates and employ one for a specific job under different circumstances.

The CVs of these candidates had a set of similar skills and qualifications but their photographs were completely different.

Dr Lee said, "Managers are affected by stereotypes and make hiring decisions to serve their own self-interests so organisations may not get the most competent candidates."


"With more companies involving employees in recruitment processes, this important point needs attention."

"Awareness that hiring is affected by potential work relationships and stereotyping tendencies can help organisations improve their selection processes."

The example of actor Rob Lowe, who had complained about how his good looks created difficulties for him to advance his career, will definitely add some weight to the study.

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“There’s this unbelievable bias and prejudice against quote-unquote good-looking people , that they can’t be in pain or they can’t have rough lives or be deep or interesting," he told the New York Times.


"They can't be any of the things that you long to play as an actor. I'm getting to play those parts now and loving it. When I was a teen idol, I was so goddamn pretty I wouldn't have taken myself seriously."

The actor left people stunned with his comic roles on TV shows Parks and Recreation and Californication. Responding to their reaction, he said, "Again, there's a historical bias that good-looking people are not funny."

According to Dr Lee, the study would help organisations to realise the importance of appointing external recruitment companies in order to avoid personal bias during the decision making and hiring processes.


The study is published in the journal Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes.


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