Weigh more, earn less


Job hunting is about as easy as doing a 1000 piece puzzle in a windstorm. Most of us know that. It’s ranked up there with moving house as one of the least enjoyed parts of life. So we hardly need employers to make it less desirable.

And yet, here we are.

An Australian study (in conjunction with researchers in Hawaii) has found obese job seekers are consistently ranked lower than those in a more average weight range. That’s ranked on their suitability for the position, how much money they deserve and their overall ’employability’.

Yes, yes. Maybe the study subjects just had different skills so that’s why those asked to rank them came up with different results? That would make some sense except the researchers used the same job seekers pre and post surgery to see if their sudden weight drop affected their chances.

It did. Remember: it’s the same person.

Here’s how it went down according to lead researcher Dr Kerry O’Brien:

“We used pictures of women pre-and post-bariatric surgery, and varied whether participants saw a resume that had a picture of an obese female attached, or the same female but in a normal weight range having undergone bariatric surgery,” Dr O’Brien said.

“We found that obesity discrimination was displayed across all selection criteria, such as starting salary, leadership potential and likelihood of selection for the job.

Let’s unpack that a little, shall we?

Same person. Same resume. Different weight.

Here is proof – not just anecdotal evidence which has existed for years – that heavier people (and women in particular) are given a value of worth that is inversely proportional to the number on a set of scales.

Here is actual data that reveals an unsettling mindset that could be true of many: we think fat people are sub-standard. At least in the job market.

But we intuitively knew that already, right? So the question, now, is: what the actual hell do we do about it?

Have you experienced discrimination in the workplace because of your weight? What happened?

Tags: career-and-money , current-affairs , politics
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