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Are You Really Getting Equal Pay? How Your Height,
Gender and More May be Impacting Your Paycheck



Height does seem to matter when it comes to career success. According to a new study from the University of Sydney and Canberra’s Australian National University, tall people are reportedly earning more than their shorter colleagues.

Among women, every four inches of extra height adds an additional 2 percent to their hourly wages.

The Height/Wage Calculator

A definitive link surrounding wages and height was discovered, with men reaping greater benefits -- each additional 10 centimeters (four inches) of height added 3 percent to their hourly wages.

Researchers determined the height advantage for women was 2 percent per 10 centimeters and men above the height of 178 centimeters (5 feet 10 inches) picked up wages equivalent to having had a whopping extra year’s experience in the workforce.

In contrast to previous studies, this examination of health and income data of 20,000 Australians didn’t show any link between being overweight and getting a lower paycheck.

Earnings Based on Your Looks?

Although overweight people weren’t docked on their paychecks in the above Australian study, other studies have uncovered that physical appearance does play a role in earnings and overall perception.

According to economics professors Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University, plain people earned 5 percent to 10 percent less than people of average looks, who in turn earned 3 percent less than those considered good-looking.

Another researcher, Dr. Gordon Patzer, found that people are automatically programmed to look upon attractive people more favorably.

“Good-looking men and women are generally judged to be more talented, kind, honest and intelligent than their less attractive counterparts,” Patzer told CNN. “Controlled studies show people go out of their way to help attractive people -- of the same and opposite sex -- because they want to be liked and accepted by good-looking people.”

Measuring Work Performance by Height

Another study cited in the Journal of Applied Psychology showed that height also impacted the ratings of work performance.

“Height was associated with subjective ratings of work performance, such as supervisor’s evaluations of how effective someone is on the job, but also objective measures of performance, including sales volume,” said psychologist Timothy Judge and Daniel Cable, a business professor at the University of North Carolina at the Chapel-Hill. “Being tall may have the effect of boosting employees’ self-confidence, helping to make them more successful, as well as prompting people to ascribe more status and respect to a tall person.”

In the study, Judge and Cable also found that every inch of height amounts to a salary increase of nearly $789 per year.

According to this calculation, this adds up to big dividends over the course of time. For example, a person 6 feet tall earns $5,525 more annually than a person who is 5 foot 6 inches.

“Perhaps society is not consciously aware of the importance we place on height,” said Judge. “If the status accorded to tall people has evolutionary origins -- when height signaled strength and power -- these same psychological processes may exist today; just in our subconscious.”

Presidential Stature -- The Votes Are In

Even among our American presidents height seems to play a role in the selection of our candidates. Out of 47 elections in which the heights were known, the taller candidate won 29 times and the shorter candidate won 15 times. Out of 43 presidents, only five were reported to have been a hair below average height, the last of those was Benjamin Harrison, who was elected back in 1888.

The Tallest Presidents:

Abraham Lincoln 6'4"
Lyndon Johnson 6'3"
Thomas Jefferson 6'2"

The Three Shortest Presidents:

James Madison 5'4"
Martin Van Buren 5'6"
Benjamin Harrison 5'6"
Tallest First Ladies:

Eleanor Roosevelt 5'11"
Michelle Obama 5'11"

What Can You do if You’re Not Getting Equal Pay?

First, do some salary research to ensure your pay truly is unfair. There are several interactive Web sites available to help you determine pay ranges in your region, both with basic free reports and more detailed reports for a fee. You can use these to start your basic research to determine how much you should be making, compared to others in your area.

Next, determine if you really deserve a raise by asking yourself these six questions.

If you determine the answer is yes, and your employer is unwilling to work with you or listen to your concerns, it may be time to consider finding a new career that will pay you what you’re really worth.

Recommended Reading:

The Gender Income Gap: Are Woman Really Making Less Than Men for the Same Job?

How Much of an Advantage Do Tall Men Have? Are Tall Men Really Better Off?


Yahoo News May 17, 2009 July 11, 2005

University of Florida News October 16, 2003

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