There has been a recent study here in Australia that suggests taller people get paid more. Apparently, for men, being taller than their colleagues can fetch them $1000 more while for women it’s about $600.
I am offended.
As a short person, first and foremost.
And as a person that is aware about research and its intricacies.
To those that don’t know me: I am 5 feet tall. (or short, if you prefer)
And my height has never been an issue when it comes to work or pay. I’m paid on the basis of my education and my experience. Students, majority of who are taller than me, still respect me and treat me well. My emplyers, who are taller than me, don’t discriminate. My colleagues, who vary in height, don’t give a damn that I’m 5 feet as long as I can provide them with recommendations on how to deal with their difficult students.
Having said that, my height came up during my job interview at the school. The principal asked me about how I would deal with the boys at the school since the school is of a cultural background where the boys are generally tall. My reply to that was — just as I would deal with the girls or any other teens I see because majority of the teenagers I see are taller than me. (I think they liked the answer, among others, because I did get the job!).
In my job, I personally think that being short is an advantage. I mean, kids have teachers looking ‘down’ on them all day…they don’t want a psychologist who can appear to be in an authoritative position as well. Me being short, I’m either at their height or shorter which is less intimidating for them. Same goes with the little ones…I’m still not as ‘big’ as someone who is 5’5 might appear to a 6 year old who is tiny.
Now, to the researchers that conducted the study. Without having read your research, I would like to ask some questions which I think should have been answered before publicising this in the media (which as we know, sensationalises every damn thing!)
- What was your sample? Did you only choose a sample of high-flying corporates? Because if so, it is skewed and the study lacks external validity. Did you bother to check the education sector, the health sector, the retail sector and all the others…
What kind of statistics did you use? Based on the type of research, I think a correlational study was done, and as we know, correlation means there could be several other factors not included in the study that affect the outcome of the results
Did you consider other factors other than height? What about education or experience?
Did you compare two people, one taller than the other, with the same educational background, same level of experience, same level of skills and expertise, in the same company/sector and see whether their wages were different?
It is unethical to report research without highlighting some of the aforementioned factors. People that lack the knowledge about research are probably right now cursing their biological make-up for being short. When in reality, this research probably lacks validity to be generalised to the entire population.
I know it sounds like a rant from a short person and probably is. But seriously, how are we to believe this?
Do tell me if someone in your workplace, with the same education as you, same level of experience, same skills, same areas of expertise — in fact just like you in every way except height — do they get paid differently???
Until next time,