Employers are increasingly putting beauty before brains
according to a report by the Industrial Society.
The report, Looking Good, sounding right: style counselling
in the new economy, reveals the emerging trend for employers to choose staff
for their self-presentation skills rather than technical skills or experience.
Authors Chris Warhurst and Dennis Nickson, say the
Government must address the issue through training or risk the creation of an
employment underclass who don’t meet the aesthetic standards of prospective
They argue that the rise in ‘aesthetic labour’, particularly
in the expanding service sector, increases the potential for discrimination and
training initiatives are needed to address the issue to improve economic
competitiveness and social mobility.
The research highlights a number of cases where employers
have discriminated against staff over their appearance.
These include a male off-shore oil worker dismissed for
being too fat, a pregnant sales assistant sacked for becoming ‘too fat and
ugly’ and a supermarket check-out girl who was sent home to shave her legs so
she would not ‘put customers off’.