Study: overweight men promoted – while women just weighed down

April 9, 2009

(ChattahBox) — A study, published in the British journal Equal Opportunities International, seems to indicate in the business world if your overweight and hoping to get promoted you had better be a man.

The study focused on the chief execs of 1,000 leading companies in the United States and found 61 per cent of the male bosses were overweight, while the statistical average for men in this age group is 41 per cent. Meaning overweight men are over-represented in high positions in the business world.  I wonder though how many of these men were overweight before they were promoted, and how much the lifestyle of being an exec, leads to adding on the pounds.

In contrast, only 22 per cent of women bosses were overweight, compared with the US average of 29 per cent in the female age group.

The research, by the human resource department at Michigan State University is the first to focus on the potential effect of weight on career advancement to the highest levels of management.

Prof Roehling an associate professor of human resource management at Michigan State University, said the results reflected a greater tolerance – and possibly even a preference – for larger sizes in men, but smaller-sized women.

“It appears that the glass ceiling effect on women’s advancement may reflect not only general negative stereotypes about the competencies of women, but also weight bias that results in the application of stricter appearance standards to women.”

The researchers did find that being obese was detrimental for promotion for men and women and that only 5 per cent of  bosses at top companies were classed as such – lower than the US average of 36 per cent of men and 38 per cent of women of a similar age.


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