It Pays to be Skinny

by Krantcents · 40 comments

Post image for It Pays to be Skinny

Skinny people earn more!  According to a survey, workers who exercise regularly earn 9% higher pay on average versus the ones who don’t!  Who are these people and why do they earn more?  I hope this trend spreads everywhere!  What is wrong with rewarding healthy behavior?  Staying healthy is more than appearance, isn’t it?  What is healthy anyway?

Healthy Habits

In this difficult economy where employers expect more productivity for the same wages, it is nice to see a reward for healthy behavior.  Do you think this will increase gym memberships?  Just signing up for the gym is not enough, but it is a good start.  Going to the gym regularly shows some discipline and the exercise will help self confidence too.  What is it about healthy habits makes them better employees?  Successful people have traits that employers want and reward.

Exercise affects your personal outlook.  Exercise improves your mental attitude.  It reduces stress, anxiety and depression.  It changes you physically, mentally and your outlook.  It will make you positive, goal oriented and more in control over your life.  Who wouldn’t want to reward this kind of behavior?  Do you think these employees would be more productive?  I expect these employees take less sick days, use the medical insurance less and probably get more done.  Is that enough?

Many high tech companies have on premise health clubs for their employees.  They do this to encourage healthy habits and as an employee benefit.  For some high tech companies, you need to compete on more than just wages.  Is it to change behavior or attract like minded people?  The psychology of offering a positive lifestyle may change behavior or motivate employees to change behavior.  Personally, it is a better alternative to just offering junk food which is abundant at high tech companies.

Only Skinny Need Apply

Much to my chagrin, a woman’s weight can affect her earnings more than a man.  Thinner women earn more than overweight women.  There have been many studies that show attractive people earn more than their counterparts.  What is interesting are thinner women earned more, but thinner men do not?  This is the ultimate double standard!  Is it because men are in charge?  Body image is different for men and women.  Thinner women are admired by men and bigger, muscular men are described as healthy, aggressive or powerful.

Skinny men are considered sneaky, nervous, weak or sick.  As a man, it is better to be overweight.  Women who are overweight are considered less desirable, conscientious, agreeable and beautiful.  Is this fair?  No, of course not, but subconsciously or maybe consciously employers do think about this when they hire people.  I am not suggesting changing to fulfill someone’s concept of beauty, but recognize it is there.

Wrap Up

What should you do?  Join a gym or go on a diet? Exercise is a good thing for everyone and the associated traits are positive in anything you do.  Should you lose weight just to earn more money?   I think it is a personal and individual decision.  Good health should be everyone’s goal!  The best revenge on society that focuses on appearance is to do it for you and get in charge of hiring or become entrepreneurs.  Modeling is starting to change from very skinny girls to a healthier appearance.

Photo by:  Ali

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Lance@MoneyLife&More July 16, 2012 at 6:55 am

Regardless of if you make more, you will feel better and be healthier. Hopefully it will even increase your lifespan! While the money might be nice the other benefits are most important in my opinion.

Krantcents July 16, 2012 at 7:06 am

I agree that the healthy lifestyle is the most important part. I do have a problem with the different viewpoint on gender though.

Daisy @ Add Vodka July 16, 2012 at 7:41 am

I am not saying that this is really so, but I think there is a clear link in most people’s minds between ambition at work and ambition with oneself. Meaning, if they are motivated enough to be healthy and “skinny”, they are more likely to be motivated enough at work to get the job done. It may be true, it may not be true. But I think it comes down to accountability, motivation, and ambition (and confidence!) when looking at the WHY behind this.

PS – you need to change your captcha! It’s making me do multiplication and I’m not that good at math ;)

Krantcents July 16, 2012 at 7:58 am

I agree that the associated traits of “skinny” healthy people are more important than just looks. I find it interesting that men and women are treated differently when it comes to looks though.

Bridget July 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm


Seriously though, I’m not surprised. Even if we make every effort to remove biases, sub-consciously we will still always pick attractive people. We’re human.

Krantcents July 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Aside from the visuals, I think there are enough other reasons to justify it.

maria@moneyprinciple July 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Attractive is the key word; and yes, attractive people can be skinny or bigger – there are some stunning women who are no stick insects. Told you – Venus (as in Greek Venus rather than Williams) is ideal. She has curves and everything – no sticky insect.

Krantcents July 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Attractive is defined by the person who uses it! The people in charge define what is attractive. I think the saying goes something like this, the golden rules is he who has the gold rules!

From Shopping to Saving July 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I think that it definitely shows a correlation just because “skinny people” probably have their priorities straight. If you can’t control the food you eat and the amount you exercise, chances are you have a hard time coping with other ways to earn more money such as work or being motivated to take care of your finances. I think they could say the same about people who manage their finances well and being healthy. Big correlation there!

Krantcents July 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm

The attributes or characteristics of healthy people are desirable! More energy, focus, less illness or time off to name just a few of those characteristics.

444 July 16, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I’m surprised you have not made people angry with this post, and it’s because 2/3 of the people are overweight-to-obese, and they usually get their hackles up. I’m not offended (I’m not overweight, either, LOL – my husband is, though) but I’ve observed that even the overweight have some prejudice against other overweight people. I don’t think overweight men escape prejudice, except at the top of career ladders – in that case they get to be fat, wear ponytails, or be any kind of eccentric they like, sort of like kings or something, but I think that in most career levels fit men get the job first and are perceived as being more competent, the same as for women.

Krantcents July 16, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I was a little surprised that skinny (fit) men are thought of as sneaky or other negative traits! If you look at what I wrote objectively, I raised questions about the inequity of how men and women are treated in the workplace.

Darwin's Money July 16, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how exercise may not even help keep you skinny or prevent early onset of chronic disease if you have a sedentary job. Just sitting a few hours a day can kill you after a long career. Seriously (call me nuts) thinking of standing more while I work or getting a treadmill workstation in my basement for blogging. Wasn’t aware just how bad sitting is for us!

Krantcents July 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm

When I was industry, I remember a colleague (executive) who had a standing desk. It was a lot like a speaker’s podium. As a teacher, I rarely sit for long, I walk around the classroom to keep control over the class. Now I can add for health reasons!

Paula @ Afford Anything July 17, 2012 at 7:20 am

I have a “standing desk” at home (a desk that’s at standing height). I highly recommend it! It’s hard to stand 10 hours a day, so I alternate between using my standing desk, using my home sitting (traditional) desk, and working on my laptop outside of the home (where convention dictates that I have to sit).

Krantcents July 17, 2012 at 7:30 am

As a teacher, I walk around for 5 hours a day. It is exhausting, but worthwhile to maintain control. I think it is great that you have several ways to work and it keeps you moving. A long time ago, I remember a colleague who had a standing desk at work. He thought it made him more effective. I used to work at my desk, table, and couch. Have writing tablet will travel! The more recent evolution of laptops, tablets and mobile devices is just an evolution of our habits.

mbhunter July 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Also, you can be fired for being overweight. Not so for race, gender, etc.

Krantcents July 17, 2012 at 7:16 am

The only time I heard of people being fired for weight was with flight attendants and that was stopped years ago.

AverageJoe July 17, 2012 at 5:26 am

I don’t care much about skinny/fat, but when I was hiring people I did worry about people who looked like they took care of themself. If you can’t be bothered to take care of you, then how are you going to take care of the company?

Krantcents July 17, 2012 at 7:19 am

I don’t think everyone needs to be rail thin, but an overall healthy appearance is desirable and attractive. The accompanying characteristics was very desirable for employers.

Financial Independence July 17, 2012 at 5:32 am

It is only if you work for the money. Have a look on the business owners or self made billionaires …

In other words it is a great advice for most of us, as we are selling our appearance not a unique and wonderful product : -)

Krantcents July 17, 2012 at 7:24 am

I think our appearance says a great deal about ourselves! Your health is reflected in everything you do at work and life in general.

Elizabeth @ Simple Finance July 17, 2012 at 7:22 am

We’ve learned this firsthand in my household! My husband’s work offers a monthly credit to our health insurance premiums as long as our BMIs are in the normal range!

Krantcents July 17, 2012 at 7:33 am

I like healthy incentives to change or reinforce good behavior. I think that health insurance should give us an incentive to get physicals and catch diseases early. It has been shown that will reduce overall health costs.

Shannyn July 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

Well I would say there’s a difference between “healthy” and “skinny,” but I get your point. I work out regularly now and eat well, don’t smoke, etc. but I am by no means skinny!

Krantcents July 17, 2012 at 11:43 am

I used “skinny” in my title to grab attention, but image is important! Actually, I find it more interesting that there are gender differences, probably because men are in charge.

Julie @ Freedom 48 July 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Sad, but true. I guess that’s one more compelling reason for us to lose weight and pretty ourselves up.
While it’s obviously better to be healthy… I will admit that I was not a fan of the cat calls, overly chivalrous men, jealous catty women, and being hit on by sleaze balls back in my skinny days.

Krantcents July 18, 2012 at 7:00 am

Sounds like an uncomfortable situation! Obviously, women go through a lot more than men when it comes to image. Remember healthy is not model like or looking like a movie star.

Eddie July 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Money is nice, but strong health will always prevail. Hence why it’s good to exercise like you said. I just picked up a trainer (2x) a week, who I hope can help me transform my kegger into a washboard. :)

Krantcents July 18, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Be all you can be! Being healthy is more than image and watch what you eat too.

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter July 20, 2012 at 7:28 am

I keep healthy for reasons outside of work. I like having more energy and knowing that I can live a long life full of awesome experiences. We eat vegetarian and we exercise 5 days a week. We also try to get good sleep. We have really made an effort the last couple years and we feel amazing. We definitely want to keep it up.

I don’t currently get any job incentives to be skinny and healthy but if I did it wouldn’t matter because we are already doing it.

Krantcents July 20, 2012 at 7:31 am

Same here! I have been living healthy for 35 years! I think the costs of health insurance would go down if there were incentives to see the doctor and take care of ourselves better.

Jessica @ Budget for Health July 23, 2012 at 5:08 am

This is sad to say, but as a dietitian I may not even GET a job if I don’t look healthy! It’s an odd situation- have a fit dietitian who “cannot relate to overweight people” or an overweight dietitian who “can’t even take her own advice.”

Krantcents July 23, 2012 at 6:55 am

That is quite a dilemma! I think I prefer the dietitian who follows her own advice.

Buck Inspire July 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Interesting article KC! Guess I better hit the gym and bulk up a bit. Don’t want to be looked at as sneaky or weak. Haha. Unusual double standard, but it makes sense when you think about it. Great points about less sick days and savings on insurance. Healthier workers do make for happier and more productive workers.

Krantcents July 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm

People take sick days for various reasons, but healthy habits translate into productivity. Don’t bulk too much or you look like Arnold in old age!

Squeezer @Personal Finance Success July 29, 2012 at 9:00 am

I do not think that necessarially a person’s skinnyness affects their pay as much as a person’s motivation. In general I have noticed that overweight people are slower at performing tasks and less motivated than skinny people.

Krantcents July 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I agree that the characteristics of skinny people are more positive, but it was the skinny image that was rewarded along with the characteristics.

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