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Study: Obese Job Seekers Have Less Chance of Finding Work

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Your waistline shouldn’t impact your job search, but unfortunately it may be a deciding factor when it comes to gaining employment. A study published online in the International Journal of Obesity showed that when people unknowingly viewed images of potential co-workers before and after weight loss surgery, the candidates were rated more poorly when obese. The resumes were equivalent as far as skills, experience, and education.

The “employers” rated candidates for starting salary, leadership potential, and likelihood of being hired. And based on the ratings, larger people had less chance of being hired. And if they managed to pass that hurdle, they still would have faced lower salaries and limited career progression.

Shockingly, this type of bias actually exists in the real world. Last year, a Texas hospital instituted a policy that job candidates had to have a BMI of less than 35, but the hospital later withdrew the policy.

More proof: As we previously reported, researchers at George Washington University found that overweight female workers earned $5,826 (15 percent) less than their healthy-weight co-workers. Overweight male workers fared slightly better, earning $4,772 less on average. (Read more about this research.)

The study’s authors, in a separate paper, note that the bias might stem from members of the media, who often imply that people can easily control their body weight, labeling the obese as lazy and less competent.

Tags: Health, Weight Loss, Work