Is Lookism A Problem For IT Pros?

Is Lookism A Problem For IT Pros?
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, hacks and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Lifehacker Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a fix.

Lookism — hiring someone based on their appearance rather than their abilities — is a common problem in many fields. Is it an issue if you work in IT?

IT worker picture from Shutterstock

Business Insider yesterday noted that complaints to anti-discrimination boards about hiring practices based on looks seem to be on the rise. A report from the University of Sydney identified 107 instances and suggested being “ugly” might slice $30,000 off your salary.

Lazy stereotyping suggests that people working in technology are obese or pale or glasses-wearing nerds, but the reality is far more diverse. I’m wondering, though: have you ever seen a colleague paid more based on appearance rather than aptitude, or experienced that yourself? Tell us (modestly) in the comments.

Lookism Is Real And Could Be Costing You Your Dream Job [Business Insider]


  • I believe image is a key factor if there’s any customer or higher profile interactions required in the role.
    But you are representing the company, so if you don’t get a job because you look like a slob….it kind of makes sense. It all depends on the job. For a more technical role where there’s no physical customer contact, it doesn’t really matter, in fact, sometimes the more lazy people are the best, because they script and automate everything 😀

    • The article is talking about appearance, not behaviour:
      Dressing sloppy is behaviour
      Being lazy is behaviour
      Looking a certain way: race, gender, age, beauty is something that a person can’t change.
      Should employers discriminate on those things?

      • I’d argue that dressing sloppy is both appearance and behaviour. Either way, appearance and behaviour are intertwined. Many studies have shown that attractive people also tend to be more confident and self-assured, and are therefore better able to “sell” themselves and their skills at the workplace, which would have obvious implications in landing jobs and promotions.

  • That source article is kind of weak. Where is that University of Sydney study? The source of the source just cites Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission figures. And most importantly, “A spokeswoman for the commission said she did not have details of how many cases succeeded.”

    So before claiming this is a thing, how about some journalism to get number of upheld complaints?

  • No obese people on the team I work for. I’m the palest, but then I’m the only white guy. About 50-50 on wearing specs.

    Some years back a fried was told at a performance review that he wasn’t smart. He was happy when his manager said he meant “dress” rather than “brains”. I think it is typical that techies value knowledge, experience and ability over appearance.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!