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Beauty at work: an advantage or a disadvantage?



Virginie Graziani

Talent Management & Synergologist

12 October 2017

Reading Time: 2 minutes


Before the end-of-year celebrations, everyone’s thinking about how they look. Everyone wants to dress up to show all its splendour. We wanted to know whether beauty matters the rest of the year, in recruitment processes.

The dominant theory in behavioural science is that being attractive gives people an advantage. New research shows[1], however, that beauty isn’t always an advantage and can work against you if you’re perceived as a threat at work. That was the finding of a study conducted by Marko PITESA.

As a result of various experiments, the renowned University of Maryland professor revealed that a pretty face isn’t always looked upon kindly at work. In fact, it’s a disadvantage for a woman to be too good-looking: she’s immediately seen as being less intelligent and less able. For men, being handsome engenders mistrust because handsome people are seen as more gifted and therefore more of a threat in a competitive environment.

Stereotypes associated with beauty are therefore an important factor in discrimination at work according to Marko PITESA. But don’t worry, beauty does have some advantages: for example, it enhances your charisma.


[1] Research published in 2015 by Lee, Pitesa, Thau, Pillutla. “When beauty helps and when it hurts: An organizational context theory of attractiveness discrimination in selection decisions. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes”





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