January 28, 2023

Unveiling the Ugly Truth: Why a Pretty Face Matters More Than Intelligence in Career Growth

As children, we grow up believing that our intelligence and accomplishments are what determine our success. However, the harsh reality of the working world is often far from this ideal. The truth is that physical attractiveness still plays a significant role in career growth and success, oftentimes overshadowing intelligence and hard work. Keep reading to discover why a pretty face matters more than intelligence in career growth.


As humans, we tend to be attracted to things of beauty. A person’s physical appearance is one of the first things we notice about them, and it has a significant impact on our initial impressions. This is especially true in a professional setting, where physical attractiveness can significantly affect a person’s career growth and success. It’s not a new phenomenon; research has shown that good-looking people have always reaped the benefits of experiencing better treatment in various aspects of life, including but not limited to education, social life, and career growth.

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Section 1: Attractive People are Perceived as More Competent

Physical attractiveness directly correlates with the assumption of competence in the corporate world. Studies show that an individual’s physical appearance impacts how credible and capable they appear to their employers. Hence, “appearance discrimination,” treating people based on how they look, has become a norm in today’s reality.

Section 2: Attractive People Have More Confidence and Charisma

It’s no surprise that attractive people tend to have more confidence and charisma, traits that can carry them through any professional situation. This confidence and charisma give them an edge in job interviews and networking activities like business meetings, where they can quickly establish a connection with their clients, employees or investors.

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Section 3: Attractive People are More Likely to be Hired

Employers can’t help but be biased in favour of a candidate’s good looks while evaluating them at interviews. This bias isn’t just superficial; studies have shown that people of above average looks are more likely to be offered jobs compared to others. For example, in a study carried out by the University of California, it was found that attractive ones were offered salaries of at least 10% more than those who were less attractive.

Section 4: Attractive People are Perceived as More Trustworthy

Research has found that attractiveness is closely linked with the ability to gain trust. This trust is essential for people working in fields like law, finance, and medicine, where ethics play an integral role. Being attractive tells someone that you have your life together and care about how you represent yourself.

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Section 5: Intelligence Isn’t as Easily Visible as Physical Beauty

Intelligence is an intangible quality that can’t be measured by appearance alone. A person’s brainpower can only be determined through testing and scrutiny. This makes measuring and comparing intelligence a difficult topic. A person’s intelligence is best assessed through the quality of their work, which isn’t always visible to others or isn’t as noticed at a glance as physical beauty.

Section 6: Attractive People Receive More Promotion Opportunities

Research has shown that attractive people tend to receive more promotion opportunities than less-attractive colleagues. Often, managers take the initiative to create good opportunities for them based on the assumption they’ll positively represent the company. This provides them with more chances to succeed in one’s career path.

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Section 7: Beauty Bias Leads to Workplace Discrimination

Beauty isn’t the only trait people are biased on. Gender, race, and religion, among other factors, are all factors in how the business world views its workforce. People of certain appearances often face discrimination in the workplace that constrains their professional development. Ethical professional conduct and company policies should protect employees from discrimination based on arbitrary features such as physical beauty.

Section 8: People Who Prioritize Their Physical Appearance May be Seen as Less Intelligent

While physical attraction can help people in their professional development, over-focusing on one’s physical appearance may lead employers to overlook their intelligence or ability to get things done. People who put more emphasis on their looks may be seen as less serious about their career, and that’s one way they may not be able to move upward quickly.

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Section 9: The Ugly Truth Can Impact Self-Esteem

People who don’t naturally fit into the societal norm of beauty are often made to feel they’re not worthy of greatness. The ugly truth about the importance of physical beauty in career growth and development can lead to a negative impact on the self-esteem of affected individuals, reducing their potential for success. Ensuring that everyone is treated with the same amount of respect is the only antidote to this negative behaviour.

Section 10: Striving for Diversity and Inclusivity

Looking forward to an ideal, it’s crucial to start striving towards diversity in the workplace. Cultivating a culture of diversity creates better opportunities for those who don’t fit the norm of the physical beauty standard. The more diverse and inclusive the corporate world becomes, the more opportunities for success for everyone.

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1. Does beauty affect job opportunities?

Yes, it does. People regarded as attractive are more likely to be favoured for job opportunities, as employers tend to overlook financial qualifications over physical traits. This bias can limit the career pathways of less attractive job seekers.

2. Can beauty affect your salary?

Yes, it can. Individuals perceived as more attractive may receive higher salaries than others, even when the level of expertise is the same. Attractive individuals can be seen as a good representation of the company, which can benefit the salary or bonus they receive.

3. Does focusing on physical beauty lead to lesser career development?

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Yes, it can. People focusing solely on their physical looks may be seen as less serious about their career development, which may delay their chances of career advancement.

4. Why does physical beauty matter to employers?

Physical beauty and charisma can affect how an employee is perceived by others, the likelihood of attracting clients, networking with others, and winning new business deals, which ultimately lead to business success.

5. How can organizations promote inclusivity and diversity?

Organizations that promote inclusivity and diversity can make sure that people with various qualities are employed, from employees with great communication skills but average looks to those with above-average working experience but less physical attractiveness. Policies ensuring not to discriminate against people based on arbitrary factors may also help promote diversity and inclusivity.

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Although physical beauty shouldn’t be the only quality people are judged on, it’s clear that it can significantly impact one’s career growth. While striving to improve one’s appearance is admirable, it shouldn’t come at the cost of their skillset or intelligence. Exposing and combating societal norms that promote superficial and arbitrary beauty standards can create an inclusive, diverse, and fair work environment for all. Organizations that prioritize these values gain a reputation as excellent places to work and attract the best talent.

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