Tall People Get Paid More

Tall people enjoy a lifelong advantage. Companies reward stature with a larger paycheck.

By PT Staff, published on October 20, 2003 - last reviewed on March 5, 2008

Height matters. Tall people get larger salaries, higher status and
more respect. Furthermore, the advantage seems to
be life-long.

Timothy Judge, a business professor at the University of Florida,
calculated that each inch in height corresponds to $789 extra in pay each
year, even when gender, weight and age are taken into account. An extra
six inches, for example, results in an extra $4,734 in annual
income.

In management and sales positions, the relationship between height
and salary was closely related. Yet height also mattered in less social
occupations such as accounting, programming, engineering and clerical
work.

Judge also found that height was more important than gender in
predicting income. Taller women get paid more than their shorter
counterparts. The tall began their careers with bigger paychecks, and
kept the fiscal advantage into their 40s and beyond.

In Judge's analysis, height was also related to work
performance. Supervisors felt that tall workers were more effective
employees. By some measurements, such as sales volume, their performance
actually did tend to be better.

Judge reviewed four large-scale studies—three from the U.S. and
one from Great Britain—that followed participants from childhood to
adulthood, taking note of their work and personal lives.

"Perhaps society is not consciously aware of the importance we
place on height," notes Judge. "If the status accorded to tall people has
evolutionary origins—when height signaled strength and power—these same
psychological processes may exist today; just in our
subconscious."