I am only 5' 1", no wonder I am not a "roaring success" in the business world! Read this!
..you could be making less--a lot less--than if you were taller. When it comes to salary, status, and respect, people who are short are short-changed in the work world.
Tall people earn more money--as much as $789 more a year in pay for every one inch of height--than their shorter colleagues, according to a new study from the University of Florida and the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill. This pay differential based only on height is especially pronounced in management and sales positions.
Think $789 isn't all that much? Think again. Even after accounting for gender, weight, and age it means that someone who is 7 inches taller, say 6-feet vs. 5-foot-5, would be expected to earn $5,525 more annually. If you add this up over the course of a 30-year career and compound it, it's literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of earnings' advantage that a tall person enjoys.
"Height matters for career success," Florida researcher Timothy Judge wrote in the news release announcing the study he lead along with UNC's Daniel Cable. "These findings are troubling in that, with a few exceptions such as professional basketball, no one could argue that height is an essential ability required for job performance nor a bona fide occupational qualification."
The study: The two professors analyzed the results of four large-scale research studies, three of which had been conducted in the United States and one of which was done in Great Britain, that followed thousands of people from childhood to adulthood. Numerous details of their personal and professional lives were examined. The average height of Americans is 5 feet, 9 inches for men and 5 feet, 4 inches for women.
The results: People who were tall received higher subjective ratings of work performance, including supervisors' evaluations of how effective they were on the job. In addition, the objective measures of performance, including sales volume, were higher for tall people. Height is even more important than gender in determining salary, and its effect does not wane with age.
Why does height matter? Professors Judge and Cable speculate that being tall may have the effect of boosting employees' self-confidence, which might help them to be more successful in the workplace. In addition, others may ascribe more status and respect to a tall person. For example, tall sales people who are admired by customers may be seen as more persuasive leaders and may be able to negotiate more effectively. As a result, customers may be more likely to buy from them. "If height has the social status we think it does, it stands to reason that tall people would sell more cars because they're seen as a more authoritative source on the matter," Judge explained.
"If we have a bias against short people and that bias is not shared by other countries, we have placed ourselves at a competitive disadvantage," he said. "If we're giving great weight to an attribute like height that's irrelevant to performance on the job, then we're introducing error in our hiring and promotion decisions that causes inefficiencies in our economy."
The study findings will be published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.