extra inch in height converts to hundreds of extra pounds on your
salary, say researchers.
An analysis of three US studies and one from Britain found that
the average pay difference for two workers was £500 for every inch
The University of Florida study said that this could amount to
"hundreds of thousands" over the course of a career.
It said bosses saw taller people as more competent - and their
higher self-confidence could also boost pay.
Professor Tim Judge, who led the study, compared people of the
same age and sex who were different heights.
He found that each inch in height added $789 (£471) to the annual
pay packet - so someone who is five feet five inches would be paid
over $5,000 (£3,000) less than someone who is six foot tall.
Professor Judge said: "If you take this over the course of a
30-year career and compound it, we're talking about literally
hundreds of thousands of dollars of earnings advantage that a tall
When humans evolved as a species and
still lived in the jungles or the plain, they ascribed
leader-like qualities to tall people because they thought they
would be better able to protect them
Professor Tim Judge, University of Florida
are troubling in that, with a few exceptions such as professional
basketball, no-one could argue that height is an essential ability
required for job performance nor a bona fide occupational
When supervisors were quizzed about how they viewed their staff,
they tended to rate taller people as more effective.
There were correlations between actual performance and height in
some jobs - such as face-to-face selling positions.
However, the correlation between height and earnings rang true in
other occupations such as computer programming, accounting,
engineering and clerical work.
It was even more important than gender in defining how much one
person earned in relation to another.
Professor Judge said that the reasons behind the prejudice could
be psychological on the part of the employee, or even be rooted in
He said: "When humans evolved as a species and still lived in the
jungles or the plain, they ascribed leader-like qualities to tall
people because they thought they would be better able to protect
"Although that was thousands of years ago, evolutionary
psychologists would argue that some of those old patterns still
operate in our perceptions today."
Professor Sara Rynes, from the University of Iowa, said that the
bias was "difficult to eradicate".
She added: "I recently read that because of the widely-perceived
advantages of height, an increasing number of parents are seeking
growth-hormone therapy for their shorter-than-average children."