The study of nearly 200 fashion and jewellery retailers, conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney, has revealed that ‘lookism’ is rife in the rag trade, where physical appearance is more important than previous experience.
However, experts have warned that the retail industry isn’t the only culprit, with hospitality, tourism and telecommunication markets equally as guilty.
The survey of nearly all clothing retailers revealed that they hired new employees based on ‘personality’ while 84 per cent said they relied on those who had the ‘right appearance’.
On the other hand, only 44 per cent took into account a prospective employee’s qualifications and less than 80 per cent someone’s "previous experience".
Diane van den Broek, study co-author and senior lecturer in work and organisational studies at the University of Sydney, said that the findings suggest employers
pay little attention to CVs.
"Beauty is big business – both for those achieving it and those exploiting it. As such, we are all implicated in this phenomenon," News.com.au quoted her as saying.
She said that it was extremely difficult to gauge how often retailers asked for photographs with job applications.
However, it was becoming increasingly prevalent in the bar and hospitality industry, she said.
Talent2 director John Banks said looks were still a large part of the hiring process. In some cases, it was the determining factor 90 per cent of the time.
"People like people who look good and first impressions count. (In jobs) where there is a lot of exposure to the public, appearance is still an important factor," he said.
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