07 January 2014

Could being beautiful be the secret to success?

Do good looking people have more success? A study has found that good looking chief executives earn more and their company's shares perform better.

To get ahead in business you may need to put as much time into personal grooming as strategy, a new study suggests.

When listing the qualities of a good chief executive, you would expect people to praise their people skills, their organisational ability, their forward-thinking and their determination to succeed. But research carried out by academics at the University of Wisconsin claims that good looks are more important to the success of business leaders than you might think.

The report – Beauty is Wealth: CEO Appearance and Shareholder Value – says chief executives who are good looking earn more and their company’s shares perform better than those of their less attractive rivals.

Authors Joseph Halford and Hung-Chia Hsu even go so far as to suggest companies can help their share prices by making sure they employ good-looking bosses.

The study used a facial attractiveness index to rank how beautiful 677 chief executives were. They found those who were considered to be good looking received better total compensation than those who appeared lower down on the attractiveness scale.

The researchers also suggested that if a new CEO was pleasing to the eye, they would be more likely to make a good initial impression both in the office and with the public, boosting share prices on their first day in the job and creating business growth.

‘Good looking bosses are better at negotiating’

The study also claims good looking people are also likely to be better negotiators and more skilled at landing deals.

One of the reasons suggested for good looks equating success is that attractive CEOs are more likely to be chosen to make regular media appearances, which are likely to boost the value of shares.

The academics say: “CEO attractiveness may also affect shareholder value through the visibility channel, in which media attention may affect a firm’s investor base and stock prices. We find that more attractive CEOs are associated with better stock returns on CEO-related television news days.”

One example given by the researchers was Marissa Mayer, the beautiful 38-year-old CEO at Yahoo!

They say: “She scored 8.45 (out of 10) in our facial attractiveness index and is among the top 5% in our sample."

And since she took charge of the internet search engine, the firm’s shares have rocketed by more than 150%.

They add: "Of course, we don't mean that all the increase in stock price is from her appearance. We just find that there might be some positive correlation between the two."

But while it might be worth spending a bit more time on your appearance to create the right impression, there are of course many more factors which go towards making a good leader or manager