Eleven unfair ways people make more money
Life’s not fair. Case in point: the tall, good looking, father of two who makes five times your salary, and – oh, by the way – gets way more action in the bedroom than you do.
Yep. Some people have all the advantages while others just have to muddle through. Here are eleven unfair, and sometimes obvious, ways people make more money.
Being male: How much more does being a dude net you? That depends on which reports you read. While one recent Forbes article listed women’s salaries in certain professions at around 80% – 90% of what men were making in the same jobs, another report from PayScale tells a different story, showing that men are making only 1% – 4% more than similarly qualified women working the same jobs. Whatever the case, it’s still more.
Being a family man: According to a report from The City University of New York, men with children in New York earned an average of 41% more than women with children in 2010. Men with children had median personal incomes of $40,947, followed by men without children ($29,904), women with children ($24,350), and women without children ($24,224).
Study author Justine Calcagno told the Wall Street Journal perceptions of family men as warm and devoted “may be one reason why employers are biasing in terms of their pay.”
Having more sex: A 2013 study found that people who had sex more than four times a week earned 5% more than their colleagues who had sex less frequently. It’s not clear whether they make more because they have more sex or have more sex because they make more money. But it couldn’t hurt to test the theory.
Being more attractive: Good looking people earn on average $230,000 more than their more homely coworkers over the course of their careers. This is according to research done by Dr. Daniel Hamermesh, author of Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful.
Being a blonde woman: Dr. David Johnston a Queensland University of Technology researcher found that blonde women are paid 7% more than their brunette, redhead and black haired coworkers.
Being skinny (if you’re a woman) / Being a little hefty (if you’re a man): Skinny women make more money than women of average weight. But thin men actually make less money than larger men. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2012 that a University of Florida study led by Timothy A. Judge found that women weighing 25 pounds less than a group average earned an average $15,572 a year more than women of normal weight, and those wages went down as weight went up. Meanwhile, thin males earned $8,437 less than average-weight men, and their pay went up with their weight. This stopped when they became obese.
Having a high IQ: A high IQ can increase your earnings by between $234 and $616 per year per IQ point, reports Ohio State University economics professor Jay Zagorsky in a paper called IQ and Wealth. So, say the average IQ is 100 and yours is 130. At $600 more per point in a year, that’s $18,000. Not bad.
Being an only child or being born first: According to a 2011 survey by CareerBuilder, only children are more likely to earn six figures and hold C-level positions than people with siblings. And, among those of us with brothers and sisters, first born kids are the most likely to make six figures and be in the C-suite. Last born are more likely to be in middle management, and middle children are the worst off, being most likely to make less than $35,000 and be working in entry level jobs.
Research has also shown that first born children tend to achieve higher education and have higher IQs than their younger siblings.
Being tall: A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, also by Dr. Timothy A. Judge (who seems to study this stuff a lot), found that a person can earn an extra $789 per year for every inch above average height they stand.
“The process of literally ‘looking down on others’ may cause one to be more confident,” Judge said. “Similarly, having others ‘looking up to us’ may instill in tall people more self-confidence.”
Living in a walkable city: Wired recently reported on a study that found the GDP per capita to be 38% higher in areas ranked as “highly walkable” than in “low walkable” areas. “The average GDP per capita in places that promote walking is $60,400 compared to $43,900 in those that do not,” said Wired. It’s kind of hard to point to a causal relationship but the report points out that Richard Florida says walkability is a magnet for the creative class.
Drinking coffee: Express.co.uk reports that, in a survey by Nestle researchers found coffee drinkers earn about £2,000 ($3,624) a year more than tea drinkers.
There are workplace salary biases towards height, weight, birth order, beauty and IQ, but the common theme is in how these factors can affect a person’s confidence and ambition. Confident and ambitious people also tend to make more money.
The good news? You can become confident and ambitious, even if you’re not a tall, firstborn father, or a thin statuesque, blonde woman. So, don’t worry.
And hey, you can always start drinking coffee.