Dr Catherine Hakim was the closing keynote speaker at the 4th international Delta Intercultural Academy Conference on Global Leadership Competence: Personal Qualities, Culture, Language held in Konstanz, Germany.
She was a sociologist at the LSE when she achieved a degree of notoriety with her book “Money Honey: The Power of Erotic Capital” which was published in 2011. I blogged about it at the time and that blog has been one of my most popular so obviously of interest in the wider world.
She now works as Professorial Research Fellow at think tank Civitas Institute for the Study of Civil Society but still holds the same views.
She believes that just as we have Human Capital and Social Capital we also have Erotic Capital. This is a mixture of things including appearance, and charisma.
She quoted economist Daniel Hamermesh who found that better looking managers earned more money and CEOs of large companies were more attractive than CEOs of smaller companies.
And companies that employed attractive people were more profitable. (Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful by Daniel Hamermesh. Princeton University Press)
She pointed out that despite a world-wide recession people were still spending money on luxury items and in particular things which made people look good.
In a competitive job market appearance is important and people work hard at impression management because the social benefits of attractiveness are worth about 15% more pay.
Excluding the effect of IQ attractiveness is as good as having qualifications in many jobs.
She took some criticism from certain participants but stood her ground. “I’m a social scientist and just telling you how it is” she responded at one point.
And she’s not the only person to have researched in this area and found similar outcomes.
I liked her quote from Aristotle: “Beauty is the best letter of introduction”.
And she made her presentation without a Powerpoint in sight – a welcome change.
I first attended one of these conferences – dedicated to intercultural issues – with my colleague two years ago and we enjoyed it so much we resolved to return to this beautiful resort on the Bodensee (or Lake Constance).
It was another excellent conference – thank you Peter Franklin for organising it.