If you are a vertically challenged professional, it may be a good time to put on platform heels. A recent study by Andreas Schick of the US Food and Drug Administration and Richard H. Steckel of Ohio State University shows that tall workers receive a substantial premium in earnings, compared with their short colleagues. In developed nations, says the study, a jump from the 25th percentile of height to the 75th—about five inches—is associated with an increase in salary between 9 and 15 per cent.
Schick and Steckel's study is the latest in a string of research papers that shows the financial and social advantages of being tall. A study last year had shown that every additional inch over 5'2” was an advantage and that some inches could be worth more than the others. Among men, for instance, the sharpest jump in earnings was found to be between 5'4” and 5'6”. The returns on height begin to plateau around 6'0”.
Also, every extra inch over 5'5” is worth almost $800 a year in additional earnings. Take this over a 30-year career and compound it, says one researcher, and you would get hundreds of thousands of dollars in earnings advantage.
Why this premium on height? Scientists say there is a perception that tall people possess better cognitive and non-cognitive abilities. Well, perhaps Woody Allen wasn't joking when he said, “I failed to make the chess team because of my height.”