Lighter side: The taller you are, the better your career chances

by Juliette Willow13 Jun 2014
Pop psychology expert Malcolm Gladwell has long preached the benefits that taller professionals hold over the rest of us.

The journalist, who wrote the book Blink on the power of rapid cognition, surveyed about half of America’s Fortune 500 companies to find the average height of their CEOs.

According to his findings, it was slightly under six feet - about three inches taller than the average American male.

What’s more, while only 3.9% of American men are 6’2” or taller, a good 30% of CEOs stood that high.

Now, a new study of 1.3 million Swedish men has unearthed similar facts.

Although the average Swedish man stands at 5’10.5”, those who head up large companies are an average 6’.

And height also played a factor in salaries - when an executive was one standard deviation, or 6.5 centimeters, above the mean, he was likely to be paid four per cent above the average CEO.

This, too, echoes findings Gladwell reported in Blink - according to the book, an inch of height is worth $789 a year in salary.

Strikingly, a similar theme is apparent amongst US presidents - more than 70% of the nation’s 44 leaders stood above the current average height of the American male. And no president since William McKinley in 1901 has fallen below the 2014 average male height.


  • by Delia 13/06/2014 12:05:39 PM

    Unless the boss is quite short - then they tend to hire others shorter than themselves!

  • by Anon 13/06/2014 2:12:29 PM

    There is something to be said about the presence of taller people. I am quite tall, and it is hard for people to tell if I am intimidated or unsure, because even if I don't stand straight I am generally a good few inches taller than those people around me.

    I do occasionally meet people who are overly aggressive in how they deal with me as well. I know for a fact that I am treated differently because I am tall. It is a weird world we live in.

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