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Hair Colour in the Workplace: Blondes Paid Less


The importance of hair in the bedroom and the impact of hair loss in the boardroom have been rigorously discussed by men for years, but hair colour is now the topic of the hour. Recent research has found that women with blonde hair are more aggressive and determined to get their own way, but other studies suggest they may have to work harder in the workplace initially than others and that being fair haired could be a disadvantage financially.

Exhausted blonde businesswomanWomen with blonde hair are given a lower starting salary than those with brunette or red hair colour, according to the results of research conducted by Australian economics lecturer and labour macro-economics expert (and brunette) Dr Geni Dechter, a decision she says could be based on pure “taste-based” discrimination.

Detcher studied the role of hair colour and the effect that physical appearance has on earnings and found there was a difference of 9% difference in the wages of blonde and non-blonde employees with a higher education, and interestingly, though the difference decreases with work experience, the pay of lower educated women with blonde hair grows faster than those with a different hair colour.

The difference in entry wages, Detcher said, is not a result of blonde women choosing different occupations, nor has it anything to do with employers’ expectations of blonde women’s ability or productivity.

“Maybe it’s a more complex preference structure – for some reason some employers don’t like blondes,” Detcher said.

“The study reveals that the wage profile of female employees is affected by their physical appearance.”

The study reports: “While hair colour does not have any effect on educational achievement or cognitive ability, college educated blonde women tend to enter the job market with significantly lower wages than their brunette counterparts, but this wage difference disappears with job market experience and disappears completely after five years in the work force.”

Although hair colour appears to have a significant impact on the starting salaries of young women, the research found it does not affect men. Various surveys and research have suggested that baldness is more likely to affect an employer’s perception of a prospective male employee than colour.

But hair still plays a role in career prospects, as does weight and height. Management Today reported that tall people earn more than shorter people while thinner employees earn more than obese employees, and Dr William Rassman, a hair restoration surgeon and author of Hair Loss & Replacement for Dummies, says baldness can put men at a competitive disadvantage.

“If you’re looking for a job right now, if you match up a person with hair to a non-hairy person, the competitive marketplace tends to favour the people with hair,” Dr. Rassman said.

On the other hand, Corrinne Mills, MD of Personal Career Management, says men and women just need to keep their hair tidy and in a current style.

For more information about hair loss and the available treatments, call the Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 6666 or send a message. Alternatively, fill in an online diagnostic form and gain access to expert advice, recommendations and a personalised hair loss treatment programme from anywhere in the world.

More Information:
Hair Loss in Women
Male Pattern Baldness
Hair Loss Treatment

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