The positive relationship between physical attractiveness and earnings is well-established, but explanations for why this effect exists are still in a nascent state. By integrating status characteristics theory with sponsored-mobility perspectives on career success, we propose that attractive individuals receive more organizational sponsorship in the form of higher career exposure and visibility and higher access to organizational resources, mediating the relationship between physical attractiveness and salary. We followed 203 full-time employed recent university graduates over a period of two years and find that more attractive individuals, in comparison to less attractive individuals, receive higher career exposure and visibility from the start of their careers. The relationship between physical attractiveness and salary is mediated by this career exposure and visibility; access to organizational resources was not supported as a mediator. Our study advances theory by introducing organizational sponsorship as a novel mechanism involved in explaining the “beauty premium”.
- Career development
- Career success
- Organizational sponsorship
- Physical attractiveness
- Status characteristics theory