An old post from 2010 has popped up as one of my top posts on another of my blogs. This was a piece I wrote about leadership and tallness (before I had this blog). This is an extract from it.
I first came across this a few years ago and raised it in a leadership workshop I was running in Sweden – along the lines of biological impact on leadership eg good looks, tallness, being a first-born etc.
The Swedes were a bit sceptical, especially when I said some of the research had been carried out in Norway – not much Scandinavian sisterhood that day.
However research across the world by psychologists and economists show that every extra inch of height is worth between $500 and $1000 a year. So a 6′ person earns up to $6,000 a year more than a 5′ 6″ person (or $12,000 a year more than someone an anthropologist would class as a pygmy). UK research showed that tall men earn 5% more than average men and 10% more than short men.
There is a mixed message for diversity campaigners: fat men don’t earn less than thin men – but fat women earn less than thin ones.
And good looks seem to effect both men and women equally with unattractive people earning up to 15% less than their more attractive counterparts.
It may be that we give more respect to taller people or think they are smarter because they look down on us. Historically military leaders would come from aristo backgrounds where they were better fed and likely to be taller than the peasants or local villagers. And there were always tall military headpieces to enhance any natural advantage.
Anyway the bottom line is: Tallness = Leaders = higher earnings and Attractiveness = higher earnings.
Not much joy then if you are short and/or ugly – although if you are vertically challenged you could always go down the same path as Prince, the Hamster, and Nicolas Sarkozy who have all worn height-enhancing heels, and not just the cuban-heeled/glam rock throwbacks but “status shoes” offering a more subtle look.
A visible heel of 1.25″ can hide an extra lift of 1.5″ – or at least £500 worth of height-related earnings!.
Let’s see how HR sort that one out when they are practising non-discriminatory recruitment.