Science of Love, Sex, and Babies

Do employers prefer blondes?

Posted in news by jenapincott on June 17, 2010

Earlier this month I was sent a new study that found that there’s yet another bonus of being blonde, and this one is unexpected: Blondes get paid more than women with any other hair color. This surprised me, and so I read further.

David Johnston, an economist at Queensland University in Australia, scoured a database of 12,686 Caucasian women ages 25 and older living in the United States. The database identified the natural hair color of each woman [light blonde (1.6%), blonde (19.0%), light brown (21.8%), brown (51.2%), black (2.4%) and red (4.0%)], their hourly wages, their marital status, their husbands’ hourly wages, and their education level. Johnston controlled for height, weight, eye color, education, and other variables.

Contrary to the (silly) perception that blondes are dumb, the data reveal that they have as much education as women of any other hair color. But, interestingly, they earn 7 percent more than women with any other hair color — the market equivalent of an extra year of education. (For the same job that pays darker-haired women $50,000 yearly, blondes would get paid $53,500). No other hair color but blond appears to influence a woman’s salary.

Blondes in the marriage market also appear to get a monetary boost. The data show that blondes marry men who earn 6 percent more on average than the husbands of women with other hair colors. Blondes appear to attract and marry higher-earners. Or wealthier men appear to marry blondes.

Johnston speculates tepidly on the reasons why blondes appear to have an advantage wage-wise. Skin color is one. Although all the women were Caucasian, natural blondes may have fairer skin, associated with countries with a strong work ethic (Northern European).

More plausibly, he cites attractiveness as a paycheck-plumper. Blondes may be perceived as prettier, and beauties are known to get paid more than plain Janes. Even if they aren’t inherently more beautiful, blondes, boosted by public perception, may be more confident, social, and therefore have better communication skills. They may be (wrongly) perceived as being more productive and valuable as employees.

What Johnston doesn’t break down are the types of occupations in which the women are employed. Among waitresses, dancers, Fox newscasters, and Mary Kay saleswomen, perhaps blond hair is a bonus. But do blond doctors and librarians, physicists and writers really earn more than their darker-haired colleagues? I hope not.

18 Responses

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  1. pbandchutney said, on June 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Really interesting article! And great layout of the site, by the way!

    • Jack E. Savage said, on November 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm

      Great post! And congratulations on the Guardian pick!

      As a former natural-blond-turned brunette, would I make more money if I dyed my hair blond?

      Oh, I’m a guy, also.

      Please let me know,


      (Standing By With the H202)

  2. […] the rest here: Do employers prefer blondes? Share and […]

  3. Currie Rose said, on June 18, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Interesting post. Throughout it my thought was, “I’ve never experienced that….” but I am a writer and shy away from ‘real’ jobs…. so I guess it doesn’t effect me. However, I will say that back when I was in highschool, I did the whole blonde and tan thing and yes I was treated very well. However, at work they focused on my performance (dental office) and not at all my looks. All in all, I find that outer reality is a product of inner experience. Over the past few years, I have learned to value and love myself which has created an outer reality that is more authentic, fun and valuable. In other words, the more I treat myself like I have worth the more my outer experience mirrors that back to me. As a girl with short black hair now, I have to say that I am treated better than my blonde days… and I do believe that is because I really like myself….

    I say be who you want to be, look how you want to look be as smart as you know you are…. own your own worth, (not what society says is valuable) and your whole world will be a valuable experience perhaps with more money, better lovers or anything you want.

    • Emmanuel said, on June 21, 2010 at 6:02 pm

      i feel you,…you have said all!!! no need reiterating words

    • Jack E. Savage said, on November 21, 2010 at 2:58 am

      having worked in live morning shows/ news for over ten years, I can attest to the fact that blonde reporters yield higher “ratings”. There’s something about blond hair that gives viewers optimism. Viewers’ retinas are getting more input from metallic blond hair than they are from dead-wood “Espresso” hair colors. Blond hair connotes light, and all of its disinfectant qualities. Especially in the morning. Many reporters where I worked went from Goth-black to Breakfast-show blonde within days…

  4. Songbird said, on June 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Well, I’m blond. Don’t know what I’m doing wrong as I certainly don’t seem to be reaping any of those benefits…lol!

  5. soratothamax said, on June 19, 2010 at 3:21 am

    I don’t know this might be true. But it also depends on foundation, opportunities, and work ethic. I don’t know if people would prefer pretty over plain, but it also depends on the job. As far as the entertainment industry, yes, it’s all about the looks…..and they oddly make the most money in the world.

    As far as other jobs, don’t think so. Doctors tend to be dark-haired. I have yet to have a blond doctor or nurse in any state that I’ve been in. Red-heads are rare, I will admit. Love the hair color though.

  6. Mark J Daniels said, on June 19, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Probably best I don’t let my blonde bar staff see this… 😉

  7. Natalya said, on June 20, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Hmm, interesting. I have changed my hair quite often, but I have to admit that my natural “Russian” mix of hair always got the best compliments. The red always came forth along with the blonde in the sun. I have to admit though – the redheads are the ones to shy away from – we’re quite mean :p

  8. byebye said, on June 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    nice web-blog … great artcle for u

  9. Dark Melancholy said, on June 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Wow.. I never tought about it. Poor black-hair women..

  10. joshuafarrell said, on June 23, 2010 at 1:11 am

    I never thought that blondes get that much more income. O.o

  11. Sexy Polish Women said, on June 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    I feel that it’s because society forces blondes to be more assertive and more outgoing because that’s what’s expected of them. So they don’t mind asking for more.

  12. Kanchana Rubino said, on June 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    This is interesting. I guess, it is one less thing to worry about when you come from a country that people only have dark hair.

  13. JessieStark said, on July 1, 2010 at 11:17 am

    surprising. I have brown hair so i’m not too pleased about this :S

  14. abdul said, on August 5, 2010 at 3:21 am

    its coz blonds are sexy and when we think about blonds we think lose, fun, easy, stupid …….steriotypes….but then again its all about sex. employers dont give a damn about personality when it comes to blondes. They just want a quick one everyday on the photocopy machine.

  15. Delhi Escorts Services said, on September 15, 2010 at 10:00 am

    You are not extending your wank fantasies into your everyday reality; you will not be aroused at all times.

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