HR Strange But True!
September 29, 2011

Grooming varies greatly between individuals. Your co-worker may spend an hour getting ready for work, while another is more accustomed to the roll-out-of-bed routine. As it turns out, morning routines may play a larger role than just appearance; it may affect your paycheck.

In a recent BNET column, Kimberly Weisul discussed a study by Jyoti Das and Stephen DeLoach, both of Elon University that examines grooming habits before work and pay.

The researchers used data from the American Time Use surveys (2003-2007) and discovered some interesting trends. The results show that the effect of grooming on earnings differs by gender and race. Here are two examples Weisul references:

For white women, more time grooming means less pay. Those who spend 90 minutes getting ready each day make a little over 3 percent less than those who spend just 45 minutes.

On the other hand, for black men, more time spent grooming means higher pay. Those who spend 80 minutes each day in such activities make about 4 percent more than those who spend 40 minutes each day grooming. But for other men, the amount of time they spend grooming doesn’t make any difference in their pay.

The study can be downloaded from

This is not the first survey to link grooming with professional development. A recent CareerBuilder survey reported on the top personal attributes employers say would make them less likely to extend a promotion. Here are a few that reflect grooming habits:

  • Bad breath – 34 percent
  • Often has wrinkled clothes – 31 percent
  • Messy hair – 29 percent
  • Dresses too casually – 28 percent
  • Too much perfume or cologne – 26 percent
  • Too much makeup – 22 percent
  • Chewed fingernails – 10 percent


Have you ever had a co-worker or employee show up to work wearing something less than professional? Tell us your story!

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