Is beauty really skin deep? Guess, not anymore. With an international survey, done a while back, suggesting that beautiful people are paid better than their not-so-well endowed counterparts, we wonder if looks and beauty held high grounds within the Indian corporates as well.
Explaining this disparity, the survey blamed it all on people’s tendency to take more notice of beautiful people, which in turn gets their work noticed more than their average looking colleagues. And this, they say, reflected in their salary hikes and promotions.
Really? We get some of the professionals talking on this.
And agreeing with the idea, more than partially, is Sandeep Malhotra, a senior executive, in an IT firm, Delhi, who says, “Good looks definitely help you make that first impression. And if that’s backed by confidence, good communication skills and ability to carry off oneself smartly, the employee is surely an asset for the company and this would reflect in his salary as well. So while it’s the performance that rules high, these other aspects help one rise faster.”
Meanwhile professionals like Shashikant Natrajan, HR head of a private IT company, calls it an unjustified discrimination, “See, beautiful or ugly, all these considerations come in fields like fashion, glamour or the hospitality industry where you are meeting people all the time. But in IT industry where employee’s work is primarily on computers, who’s bothered whether he’s a stunner or just another ordinary looking guy or girl as long as he’s good at his work. And that’s what’s given prime importance when considering hikes or promotions.”
Dittos Subhashish Bey, cluster head of a private financial company, “A smart person will always have an edge over his lousy counterpart. But that’s different from being beautiful. I don’t think this logic would apply to any professional company, for in KRAs, all performance data is in black and white.”
Faiza Khan (name changed), a feature journalist, couldn’t have agreed more. “I’m beautiful, but look at the peanuts I earn!” she chuckles, adding, “All these things like – beauty, looks, personality sound better by people in the showbiz, who earn their money just by this. Who has the time to notice all this in us? Though yes, there’s nothing you can do if the boss himself is partial.”
“Exactly, who has the time?” avers Anant Jauhari, state coordinator of a private cell phone service provider in Lucknow. “It could be a done feature in the western countries but in India looks can never be a parameter to judge one’s work. In our company also we have a scientifically laid down procedure for appraisals that strictly goes by an employee’s performance and not otherwise.” However, he adds, “But being presentable can give you a mileage, because for client interaction such people are preferred. Still it’s the entire gamut of package that helps one rise high in his career and not just looks alone.”
Ask sociologist Rita Brara all about this fixation with beauty and the disparity that follows, and she says, “See, there are many forms of discrimination. For many people, physical appearance forms an important basis of inequality in the same way as caste, creed, gender and class. It’s a human tendency that nurtures such incorrect human bias. But it mostly gets played up in sectors like fashion and glamour where good looks are organically linked with the profits earned by the company. So this disparity is somewhat natural.”