The number of people receiving some form of cosmetic surgery, invasive or non-invasive, continues to rise. While this can be contributed to many factors, including insurance coverage for some procedures, price and availability, studies suggest individuals may use these procedures to make them more competitive at work. In a recovering economy, great jobs can still be hard to come by, so every advantage, no matter how small, can help.
Surgeries outside the US
The United Nations (UN) reports that South Korea has more aesthetic surgery per capita than any other country. Brazil is number 3, with most surgeries directly relating to a woman’s figure. China, while not topping the list, has the fastest growth in cosmetic surgery, increasing by 20% a year. Most of the surgeries are specifically for women trying to become more competitive in the work place. In China, companies place a high priority on youth, especially for females. The United States came in 6th on the UN’s plastic surgery chart.
Pretty People get Paid More
The Journal of Labor Economics published a study that shows “attractive” people earn 10% more than their less attractive counterparts. Studies also show that attractive graduates are more likely to be hired, and good-looking bosses more likely to be respected. While the principle of hiring or promoting someone based on their looks seems shallow, these studies prove it does happen. The other side of the coin is that companies often want to hire someone who they think will be a good representative of their business. Obviously, someone who looks like they just rolled out of bed and hasn’t had a shower doesn’t cast the company in a very good light.
Men under the Knife
It’s not just women succumbing to the pressures of beauty in the workplace—more men are getting cosmetic surgery too. In fact, in the last 15 years, there has been over a 100% increase in the number of men opting for this kind of beauty enhancement. Most of the male surgeries in the U.S. are facial. One physician out of Seattle, Dr. Phil Haeck, recounts the change in the last year. A few years ago, men would get facelifts to be sexier, especially when dating a younger woman. However, since 2010, the reason for most men to get surgery is because of worries concerning their job.
Competing for the Same Jobs
There’s no question that the last 5 years have been tough, economically speaking. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for every job opening, there are 3 people looking for work. That 3-to-1 ratio doesn’t take into account that some jobs will be more highly sought after, and will have even more people competing. The point is, in the current market, there aren’t enough jobs to go around. Older men and women may have experience on their side, but new, bright, innovative, attractive kids are edging in on their territory.
There are currently no studies that show a correlation between getting cosmetic surgery and getting hired. But based on the evidence, surgery might give a job seeker an advantage. Both men and women surveyed said they would consider minor surgery if they knew it would get them hired. Now the question is, as the job market improves, will this trend continue?
Image Source: Flickr/bark