The beauty handicap

Feminism makes pretty women less employable:

Researchers at two Israeli universities started their study by first asking an eight-member panel to scroll through a series of photos and separate the lookers from the merely OK-looking. That was designed to create some level of group consensus on who qualified as attractive versus not (the researchers had already vetted the pool of photos to eliminate as much as possible photos of candidates whose ethnicity could be easily identified.)

Then the researchers sent off 5,312 resumes in pairs of two to advertised job listings. The resumes themselves were nearly identical, but one resume did not include a photo at all, and the other resume in the pair contained a photo of either an attractive male/female candidate, or a plain-looking male/female candidate.

The overall positive-response rate was 14.5 percent. The resumes that got the highest callbacks from the hiring folks were:

• Resumes for attractive men (photo included): These had a response rate that was 45 percent higher than for plain-looking men whose photo was included, and double the call-back rate for male resumes that were sent without a photo.

• Resumes for women with no picture: These had a response rate that was 30 percent higher than for attractive women whose photo was attached to the resume, and 22 percent higher than “plain” women whose photo was attached.

The reason, it turns out, is that 96 percent of the firms had “a female employee between the ages of 23-34 doing the screening”. And women don’t like pretty women or ugly men. So, if you’re looking for a job, it would probably be a good idea to include your picture if you’re a dashing man but leave it off if you’re a woman.