Overweight workers earn less than slimmer colleagues

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Overweight employees earn less than their slimmer co-workers, a new LinkedIn survey found. The results suggest societal prejudice concerning a person’s weight can translate into pay discrepancies.

LinkedIn found UK workers classified as obese based on their body mass index earned, on average, US$2,500 less per year than colleagues who had a healthy BMI (ratio between a person’s weight and height).

The researchers said a gender pay gap also exists between men and women of the same weight. Overweight and obese women purportedly earned US$11,500 less than overweight or obese men.

Workers also linked perceptions of their weight to their overall career progression. The study found:

  • One in four who are overweight felt they missed out on job opportunities and promotion because of their weight.
  • One in three obese workers felt the same way.
  • 43% of obese workers said slimmer colleagues progressed in their career faster than they did.
  • 28% of workers overall said they have received offensive comments about their weight from a co-worker or manager.

“The LinkedIn community has a number of groups and discussions on this topic,” said Ngaire Moyes, a spokesperson for LinkedIn. Moyes expressed dismay that this form of discrimination continues to exist in the workplace.

“We hope more members will be encouraged to take part in the discussion about how it affects them and how size bias can be tackled,” Moyes said.

 

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