Some women may be deemed “too hot to hire” in more masculine workplaces, according to a University of Colorado-Denver study.
Attractive women are overlooked for certain jobs, including “manager of research and development, director of finance, mechanical engineer and construction supervisor.” The news service also pointed out other traditionally masculine job categories that were guilty of hiring discrimination against good-looking women: “They (women) were also overlooked for categories like director of security, hardware salesperson, prison guard and tow-truck driver.” The study was published in the Journal of Social Psychology.
How The Research was Conducted
The researchers had a stack of 55 photos of male candidates and 55 photos of female candidates that they handed out to participants. Each participant was given a list of jobs and asked to sort the previously mentioned photos according to suitability for certain positions. Researchers found that women who were attractive were ruled out for certain jobs, while men who were attractive were always at an advantage.
“In every other kind of job, attractive women were preferred,” said researcher Stefanie Johnson. “This wasn’t the case with men which shows that there is still a double standard when it comes to gender.”
The study also mentioned that attractive people “tended to get higher salaries, better performance evaluations, higher levels of admission to college,” among other things. Although the women’s looks may have hindered their chances of getting hired in certain professions it greatly increased their probability in others.
Is This Really a Problem?
The research brings up the question: “So What?”
Should we really focus on attractive people not getting hired into certain jobs, or instead focus on the fact that people discriminate in general? There is no doubt that gender in the workplace has always been a hot-button issue. Lately, it seems, things are improving. Women are steadily closing the wage gap but there is still a long way to go to reach gender equity. The government got involved recently by devoting a section of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to promoting diversity in the financial workplace.
The findings showed that women were sorted into positions such as receptionists and secretaries, as opposed to prison guard or truck driver. With these results it makes it difficult to tell if people are discriminating based off of attractiveness or just making educated decisions. Does it make sense to hire a wafer-thin, tiny woman to guard dangerous criminals? Equal opportunity in the workplace is a must, but there needs to be a mutual understanding that hiring should be based on qualifications and not how good you look in a mini-skirt.