Your Weight Can Affect Your Salary, LinkedIn Study Finds

Being overweight is challenging, and not only because it can affect your health.  A new study finds that obese workers often make less money than their thinner colleagues.

LinkedIn surveyed 4,000 U.K. adults employed both full and part-time and found that those who are classified as obese earn an average of US$2,512 less than those with a healthy body mass index (BMI).

One in four workers considered to be overweight reported that their size kept them from being promoted or receiving other employment opportunities. That number increased to one-third for obese workers. Fifty-three percent of overweight people claimed their weight contributed to isolation at work.

Forty-three percent of obese workers said their slimmer coworkers moved up faster within the company. Nearly 30 percent of workers reported that a colleague or manager had made a negative comment about their weight.

The study also found that men reported getting more unfavourable feedback about their weight than women, yet overweight or obese women were more likely to receive a lower salary.

Workers aged 16-24 were most self-conscious about their weight, while people over 55 were least self-conscious.

LinkedIn spokesperson Ngaire Moyes told Insider that the presence of weight discrimination at the workplace in 2018 is troubling. However, plus-size bloggers such as Stephanie Yeboah and Lottie L’Amour are working on changing people’s perceptions.

“Dealing with people who make snap judgments about me because of my appearance is something I’ve faced my whole life,” Yeboah said in a press release. “I want everybody to feel confident in their bodies and believe that nothing can hold them back if they want that job, promotion or pay rise. If you’re putting in the hard work, you should be rewarded regardless of how you look.”

Moyes noted that the LinkedIn community facilitates several groups and discussions about the topic, which is made easier by bloggers such as Yeboah and L’Amour.

“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.

Overweight is a BMI of 27.8 percent or more for men, according to the National Institutes of Health. Obesity is a BMI of 30 percent and above. BMI is determined by a person’s weight in kilograms divided by their height in meters squared. According to Statistics Canada, 61.3 percent of adult Canadians were overweight or obese in 2015.


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