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Swedish employers want good-looking staff: study

TT/The Local/vt · 7 Feb 2011, 16:01

Published: 07 Feb 2011 16:01 GMT+01:00

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Six out of 10 Swedish employers desire "attractive" staff, according to a new study conducted by researcher Henrietta Huzell of Karlstad University in western Sweden, newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) reported on Monday.

In addition, seven out of 10 would rather not have overweight employees, the survey of 1,000 companies in Sweden, particularly those in the hotel and restaurant industries, found.

The study also found that 90 percent of employers said they want employees in good physical condition. However, appearance was also important, especially in the retail sector where nearly eight in 10 stated that it was significant, the report said.

Huzell, who has a PhD in work science, was surprised that the demands on staff appearance was so important. She believes that the findings may be due in part to the fact that appearance is perceived as a sign of health, the report said.

The recent study follows on previous research by Huzell from 2008 when she conducted a study that revealed that while having good-looking employees did not result in higher turnover, employers still cared a lot about the appearance of their workers, particularly in the hospitality industry.

"An increasing number of people are well educated and appearance and aesthetic skills have becomes more important," Huzell said at the time.

However, the most important issue for businesses was not that the staff good-looking, but that they are sound and healthy, which has nothing with ideals regarding appearances.

"The requirement showed up in all sectors and is related to the employer being afraid of the costs associated with sick leave," Huzell told news agency TT in 2008.

Story continues below…

The responses for her previous study came from a total of about a thousand companies in the hotel and restaurant, retail and finance and insurance industries. It also showed that refined language among employees was more important to employers than outer beauty.

However, firms with high aesthetic demands on their employees are not more profitable than other companies, according to Sveriges Radio Värmland.

A separate study about ideal appearances based on questionnaires from a couple hundred companies in the country was compared to profitability figures from a business database.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:52 February 7, 2011 by DOZ
I like their thinking. Where do I sign up?
19:39 February 7, 2011 by BillyB
retail employers want good looking staff....restaurants want healthy looking staff....

OMG what a surprise!

I could have told them this and saved all the money and time wasted on the study.
20:54 February 7, 2011 by RobinHood
In other surveys published by the Local this week, 100% of bear respondants admitted they poop in the woods, and the only Pope to responsd to our question agreed he was indeed a Catholic.
00:44 February 8, 2011 by EP
No surprise there ... given all the people with narcissistic personality disorder Sweden has ... one only need to look at the Stockholm metro on any given morning ....
06:34 February 8, 2011 by UScitizen
@ EP

excluding you and I, one only need look at some of the other posters to articles on The Local to find all the people with narcissistic personality disorder Sweden has!
16:26 February 8, 2011 by zircon
Sweden narcissistic? And lots of coloured/ polaroid straw between the ears to burn slowly...
16:42 February 10, 2011 by philster61
I would have thought they would prefer efficient staff. Most "good looking" staff can hardly tie their shoelaces. Since they are too busy being "good looking". I guess this mentality explains why Sweden has such a bad hospitality service.
20:32 February 10, 2011 by krattan
I think the "poor service mentality" as much other Swedish mentality can be explained by the cold climate. People who get energized by other people and want's to meet new people all the time could hardly have survived here during hundreds of years, when more than half the year consists of frozen winter which probably was spent rather isolated in villages and huts on the Swedish countryside.

My experience is that the "service mentality" (which here is defined by the more anglo-american it gets - the better (whatever happened to the Swedish definition of service mentality?) ) is less profound the more to the east you go. That is Norway - Sweden - Finland - Russia.
21:56 February 10, 2011 by DAVID T
Do they employ people with beards - There's a UPS driver looking for a new job
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