back to article Women! Worried you won't get that Job in IT? Mention how hot you are

Who says the fields of psychology and business studies produce nothing but worthless waffle? A top professor of psychobiz has solved one of the most pressing problems facing humanity today: that of the terrible discrimination faced by attractive women when they try to get jobs which are perceived as being traditionally masculine …

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  1. Chris Miller

    Professor Johnson reached this eminence by way of early degrees in psychology and industrial/organisational psychology, followed by experience as Instructor of Management, professor of psychology and then professor of management.

    A bit like becoming a professor of engineering without ever having held a spanner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He may have a point, but this is not exclusive to women and not exclusive in the IT industry.

      In generally the better looking you are the better you get on in life.

      If incidentally you have a personality too you're off to a flying start.

      It's all down to human evolution and no one wants to be left with the ugly one do they?

      Unfortunately these two things, personality and looks rarely come together in IT.

      1. Truffle

        Look in the mirror

        Personality isn't genetic and you can go a long way with your looks simply with a gym membership and a decent idea of what to wear.

        Blaming all your personal failings in life on "i'm not getting anywhere in life becuase i'm ugly" or "i'm not getting anywhere in life becuase i'm a unpersonable recluse", is laziness pure and simple.

        1. John Tserkezis

          Re: Look in the mirror

          "Blaming all your personal failings in life on "i'm not getting anywhere in life becuase i'm ugly" or "i'm not getting anywhere in life becuase i'm a unpersonable recluse", is laziness pure and simple."

          Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner of the Freakonomics fame had determined, in the event you find yourself sitting in front of a court, awaiting a determination by the jury, statistically, being ugly is NOT going to work favourably for you. Laziness, or lack thereof, isn't a consideration, statistically, the odds are very definately leaning to you losing more than if you were "pretty".

          You don't have to like this, but you do have to accept the move is made by your "peers".

          1. Arbiter

            The follow up study

            Levitt and Dubner's study needs a follow up to find out whether having a total hottie as your legal rep gets you a better result.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Re: Look in the mirror

          Indeed look at yourself. Being ugly or un-personable is not always down to laziness - its just unfortuneate and getting on in life is more due to sheer luck or inheriting a wodge of dosh/influence. After all If your face dont fit you are in the Sh...

      2. a cynic writes...

        Statement of the bleeding obvious.

        "He may have a point,..."

        er...no. However SHE does.

      3. sisk Silver badge

        Unfortunately these two things, personality and looks rarely come together in IT.

        That's because most of the current crop of IT pros grew up in an era when a strong interest in computers was a good way to get labeled a nerd or geek.* You had to be fairly pretty to level the odds of positive social interactions with your peers if you had that interest. I have hopes that 20 years from now things will be different.

        *OK, so it'll still get you the label. But these days only a fool wants to be on the bad side of the guy who knows how to fix your smart phone with a few magic swipes or get you past the filters on school computers. Being a geek no longer carries the stigma it did 20 years ago.

      4. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        John Nash

        Didn't he have something to say about the ugly one?

    2. qwertyuiop
      WTF?

      Why?

      Why does engineering = spanner?

      My degree is in Electronic Engineering and we didn't really have much use for spanners. I strongly suspect that Prof. Sharples who was Head of Department hadn't ever used a spanner either.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        Handy for mounting potentiometers, aerials etc.

        Perhaps even assembling racks.

        It's important that Engineers learn and have some experience of technician skills. You'd think the local Uni would give the students at least one lesson in Soldering.

        The person in the article sounds like a 'Trick cyclist'.

        The commentator was no doubt thinking of Mechanical Engineering or would have alluded to Soldering Irons (don't pick them up at hot end) if thinking of Electronics.

        1. qwertyuiop

          Re: Why?

          @Mage

          Ummm... I said we didn't have MUCH use for spanners, not that we didn't have ANY use for spanners. My point really was that there are lots of kinds of engineers, not just mechanical engineers so why the default assumption that engineer = mech. engineer?

      2. Peter Simpson 1
        Coat

        Re: Why?

        How do you attach your connectors to the front panel? I have found spanners (small ones) extremely helpful in accomplishing this.

        Some engineers have technicians who do that sort of thing for them. I work at a small company, so I end up doing it. I can also use power tools without injuring myself.

        // also an electrical engineer...slide rule's in my pocket

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What a stupid assumption. You don't have to hold a spanner to become an engineer, it's the technician and mechanic, paid accordingly who wields the spanner. The engineer is in charge, is paid a great deal more and gives the orders.

      Who do you take your orders from?

      Whittle and Brunel were engineers but did they wield spanners?

      1. Ross K Silver badge

        What a stupid assumption. You don't have to hold a spanner to become an engineer, it's the technician and mechanic, paid accordingly...

        Stop talking shite you fool.

        While you might think handling tools is beneath you (and best left to lowly technicians and mechanics), some engineers actually enjoy getting their hands dirty.

        This is why women aren't interested in science or engineering - there are too many pedantic type-A people with zero personality or tact like this guy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Ross K

          Calm down dear boy, I was only making a point that the analogy he was using was wrong.

          However it appears to have hit a raw nerve with you.

          1. Ross K Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: @Ross K

            Calm down dear boy, I was only making a point that the analogy he was using was wrong.

            However it appears to have hit a raw nerve with you.

            Seems to have hit a raw nerve with a few other people too, judging by the downvotes you've got Mr. Anonymous...

        2. Admiral Grace Hopper

          @Ross K - There are many women who are interested in science, engineering and technology and we get used to the pedantic type-A people with zero personality and learn how to work with or, if necessary, around them. Some of them are women too.

        3. Jim 59

          @Ross K

          One of the biggest problems faced by professional engineers is that nobody knows what a professional engineer is, or that professional engineering exists as a thing. The Register knows, and so does everyone in this forum, for obvious reasons.

          Chris Mellor's Tuesday is evidently a bit slow, so he popped in here to drop one of the best troll posts I have ever seen. Subtle but explosive, it spread soft and sticky over the faces of more volatile commentards, who sure enough frothed up in a fine "up the workers" bun fight: ...stop talking shite..., etc. etc.

          Lol. Chris Mellor for CoTW vulture dropping of greatness of whatever it is.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Hey, can't we move on from sweeping statements like "women aren't interested in science or engineering"? It's not true. Perhaps not in the same numbers, but some are and even more would if society didn't tell them they shouldn't.

          As a female Electronic Engineer I know I use tools more often than the male Physicist sat next to me.

      2. Lionel Baden

        Whittle and Brunel were engineers but did they wield spanners?

        .

        Is that a serious statement? you honestly believe Brunel never used a spanner ?

      3. Diamandi Lucas

        "What a stupid assumption. You don't have to hold a spanner to become an engineer, it's the technician and mechanic, paid accordingly who wields the spanner. The engineer is in charge, is paid a great deal more and gives the orders."

        I can tell from the tone of your post that you're not a civil engineer.

      4. N2 Silver badge

        Bollox

        The engineer in charge will have most certainly got their hands dirty during their career, you can't expect subordinates to do a proper job unless you've done it your self, know & understand it.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Whittle and Brunel were engineers but did they wield spanners?

        Yes they did, in fact Whittle took part in engine assembly of prototypes and Brunel (both) worked on site during construction, it almost cost Ismbard his life

    4. Jim 59

      or calculator

      A bit like becoming a professor of engineering without ever having held a spanner slide rule.

      There I fixed it. Top trolling though.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "MENTION how hot you are"

      And that you know how to make the coffee and wash up.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I feel what works better is "I know that always working 16 hours a day without receiving overtime pay has taken its toll on my looks, but..."

    1. Valeyard

      *flashbacks of my years in the games industry*

      oh god

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Rather-

      "I know that always working 16 hours a day without receiving overtime pay has taken its toll on my looks, but... if that's what is on offer, you can stick your job up your bum. I don't work for nothing. I'm an engineer, not an idiot."

  3. Peshman

    Did I miss the bit about attractiveness?

    “I know I don’t look like your typical applicant,” or “I know there aren’t a lot of women in this industry,” and pointed out successes on her resume, she received higher ratings from reviewers than counterparts who made no mention of their looks."

    I'm not sure what the context is but I can't see anything relating to a woman's looks in that statement. There are not a lot of women in the industry could just be an observation based on gender, not the attractiveness of that gender.

    Maybe I'm just overanalysing.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Did I miss the bit about attractiveness?

      I can only guess that from the point of view of a poor tech sod, every female looks attractive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Did I miss the bit about attractiveness?

        I can only guess that from the point of view of a poor tech sod, every female looks attractive.

        The vast majority of them anyway. Some more than others, but what can I say. Women are more likely to be pretty than not. (And no, that's not sexist. Just because I think women are pretty doesn't mean I'm a prick to them or that they don't deserve every chance a man would get, nor am I some neanderthal inclined to stare, drool, and wolf whistle.)

        Anon because it's almost a sin in this day and age to remember that women are different from men, even if it's a good difference.

  4. dan1980

    I appreciate that it can be difficult for someone to work in a workplace that is overwhelmingly the opposite gender. As in-house IT I have done this and (in that position) I was the only person in IT in an office of around 40 people, 95% of whom were women (just one other guy).

    All my workplace conversations were with people of the opposite gender and the culture and humour and team activities and venue choices were all very much female.

    Believe me when I say that when you get a group that is overwhelmingly one gender or another, the culture very much becomes gender-based. It is next to impossible that it wouldn't.

    There is one piece of advice I would give to any female looking to work in 'coal face' IT, which is to dress on a level with the existing staff if you want to be accepted and trusted by them. That part isn't directly about gender as it will happen to males who dress too corporate as well. If the IT staff are in jeans and polo shirts (vendor ones, often - ugh) then anyone someone coming in everyday in a full suit and tie is likely to be seen either as not a real IT person or perhaps as someone who is looking to move up into management.

    The connection here is that in such situations, where business wear is not required, women will tend to dress more corporate than men. It's by no means a given and is very much a stereotype but it's there all the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, what stupid comment on what to wear at work. Women tend to dress smartly for work whatever job they have, while men turn up un-combed, un-kempt, unshaven and look scruffy in a dress down atmosphere of an office. By dressing down you just end up merging with the other coding clones and disappear into the ether of background noise.

      Why shouldn't someone, man or woman make the effort to dress for work or dress smartly. I'd rather have a smartly dressed woman working next to me than a dressed down jeans wearing apology.

      And if she has great legs and a short skirt..... Even better!

      And if you made more of an effort you'd be more successful and pull.

      1. dan1980

        @AC

        I think the good folks of The Register have selected the sillier comment - I will leave myself in their hands.

        For what it is worth (not much,) it has nothing to do with 'shoulds' or 'coulds' or 'woulds'.

        Any employee absolutely CAN dress as corporate as they like. I am not saying that a woman in IT shouldn't dress corporate. What I am saying is that if you are 'coal face' IT, then dressing like the other admins/techs will help you fit in.

        This is true in many areas and works the other way as well. If your company has no strict dress code and all your peers are in full corporate but you are in smart casual, you will be judged on that.

        It's not right to judge a book by its cover but, if you present yourself like the other people you work with/associate with then you are more likely to be accepted. If you present much more or less corporate (whichever) and you find you aren't trusted or accepted as readily then gender bias need not be the first thing one blames.

        1. Craigness

          Dress corporate

          As a man I feel there are far more options for women to "dress corporate" whilst not looking like they're necessarily trying to stand above the crowd. For guys there's the suit. You might get away with taking off your jacket (but you still need to arrive in one) or rolling up your sleeves, but when you take your tie off you don't look like potential management material, and chinos send the same message. With a tie on, you don't fit the part of the IT guy. Women can be sleeveless, open-collared, jacket on or off and fit in pretty much anywhere on the hierarchy.

    2. K Silver badge
      Trollface

      @dan1980

      "I was the only person in IT in an office of around 40 people, 95% of whom were women (just one other guy)."

      And I'll ask the question on everybody's lips..

      Was it difficult? .. and for anybody waiting for that over question, don't be so rude!

      1. dan1980

        Re: @dan1980

        @K

        Met my wife there so it worked out well enough.

        So I suppose the answer would be: sometimes . . .

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to do with gender

    It's the skirts and nail polish. I couldn't get a job either until I ditched the make-up and dresses and I'm a 6'2" man of 17 stone so clearly gender isn't the issue.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to do with gender

      Well played sir. Well played.

  6. Stretch

    Spanners

    Love how all this has focused mostly on spanners.

  7. John G Imrie

    So there you have it. If, as seems very likely, a large number of attractive women are reading this article and yearning for a chance to break through the glass door of female-beauty stereotyping and join our core readership in the traditionally male dominated world of IT, you now know how to achieve your dream.

    What med's is the author on. And can I have some?

    1. dan1980

      Whatever the meds, perhaps they are in his cheek, along with his tongue.

  8. codejunky Silver badge

    Why is there such a push to get women into IT?

    Its almost like there is a collective acceptance that the female has no brain or will and instead need to be told what they need to do. Leave them to do what they want and when they tell you what you should be doing (usually mothers) tell her to do the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is there such a push to get women into IT?

      "..Leave them to do what they want.."

      Even boys read all those newspaper columns about corporate ethics and practicality.

    2. Craigness

      Re: Why is there such a push to get women into IT?

      It's because women already dominate most other professions.

      Via google translate: http://www.dn.se/debatt/feminiserade-storstader-dominerar-snart-varlden/

      "Of the 15 occupations expected to grow the most over the next decade in the United States dominated all but two of the women"

      Ironically, in more egalitarian countries, women are more likely to take on "traditional" jobs like healthcare. When the choose, that's what they choose.

    3. Feargal Reilly

      Re: Why is there such a push to get women into IT?

      Simple, strength through diversity.

      We know there are many females who do not follow their interests in technical fields as they do not see a viable career path. This is caused not by lack of technical ability but by cultural stereotypes that have been built over generations. Logical or not, people look to their peers and role models as a marker of what they themselves can and should be doing, and when young girls do not see other females involved in IT they shy away too. It's a vicious circle which needs to be broken by providing additional support and encouragement to those who might otherwise not engage.

      Movements such as Coderdojo and Young Rewired State have seen 50:50 participation of male to females under the right conditions, but at other times this has been 90:10 due in part to the perception of young girls that coding isn't for them. We have to work at creating the right conditions until females coding is normalised.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Why is there such a push to get women into IT?

        @ Feargal Reilly

        "Simple, strength through diversity."

        So we should manipulate and discriminate to get women to take IT because of simple strength through diversity? Why?

        "We know there are many females who do not follow their interests in technical fields as they do not see a viable career path"

        And so they do what they want to do- aim for their specific idea or a career. If technical fields were of more interest then they would do it (I have met women who want do do IT, they do it because they want to. I admire that as I recognise it in my choice to do IT). I know people who want to do IT and people who fell into it during the last round of advertising of lots of money etc etc. I respect the ones who want to be there and do it because they want to, not because of their genitalia or the assumption that only one sex has free will/a brain.

        "when young girls do not see other females involved in IT they shy away too"

        Then let them follow their role models. If they dont see women in IT and discriminate against the profession based on sex then thats up to them. The ones who actually have an interest in the topic can come in and do the job they want to do. I have seen and worked with women in IT and they are as inspiring as the blokes. Often shabby T-shirt, shabby trousers and a whole lot of dust and dirt (all of us software developers btw).

        "It's a vicious circle which needs to be broken by providing additional support and encouragement to those who might otherwise not engage."

        Then I look forward to the amusement of the campaign to put men in various female dominated jobs and look for my comment explaining that we have brains and can make our own choices thanks. We dont need to break anything, we can let people be themselves and do what they want without saying 'hey you drones, you dont want that job, come do this one where you are a minority and public perception is that only freaks of your gender would bother!'. Instead off adding to the public perception of weirdness just leave the people to do what they want to do. And if you find a sexist moron who tells them they are doing the wrong thing then put that moron in his place. That is fair and free to all.

        "Movements such as Coderdojo and Young Rewired State have seen 50:50 participation of male to females under the right conditions, but at other times this has been 90:10 due in part to the perception of young girls that coding isn't for them. We have to work at creating the right conditions until females coding is normalised."

        Brain implants! Thats the way! Or if we aint so advanced yet lets go with indoctrination! What are the 'right conditions'? How badly must you manipulate someone to fit into your world view of what is correct? I know you mean well but so do all the other social engineering, overlord, dictator, crazy freakin nutjobs out there who are trying to impose their will over other people. I say this as a guy who took flak for being a dance teacher and choosing to have long hair. The narrow world view that something must be wrong because you want to tell girls what they want to do is no different to the rubbish I laughed off as I was growing up. If you do your thing and leave others to do their own thing then we dont need social engineering to make the 'right conditions' using polite words for manipulation such as 'support' and 'encouragement'.

        Movements always exist to change the world. ISIS are giving it a shot now. Less radical we have a push that we want women to stop choosing what they want to do in life but to do X,Y,Z. Under the right conditions we can have women stay at home doing the cleaning and looking after her man as they toil away. Or using your words-

        We have to work at creating the right conditions until stay at home females is normalised.

        I dare you to propose that.

      2. Craigness

        Re: Why is there such a push to get women into IT?

        "We have to work at creating the right conditions until females coding is normalised."

        No we don't. Just like we don't need to have more men in female-dominated professions, we don't need to have more women in male-dominated professions. The only difference is that there is no effort and no money to get more men into teaching, health, etc. If "strength through diversity" were truly the goal, we would want to advance the interests of boys as well as girls and give everyone the same opportunities. We don't, because the goal is to have women dominant everywhere. Is there anyone in the mainstream who thinks it is in any way a bad thing that women are 60% of graduates, 70% of medical students, out-earning men in their 20s etc. Female dominance is seen as a triumph, male dominance is seen as problematic.

        For homework, compare the gender-based grants available for male teachers and female engineers.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Why is there such a push to get women into IT?

          ...and Craigness nails it.

          Political correctness HAS gone too far.

          I have met far too many women these days who seem to think that they can do no wrong and proceed to abuse any authority they have, making them NO different than any other asshole walking around... and getting away with it just because of PC. (there has also been a growing rise in women's prison populations and yes, there is direct correlation and yes, when filtered for all other factors, is rising faster than the male populations)

          Men. Women. I don't who can do the job if they can do the job, but favoritism for any reason other than competency is wrong and so is retaliation for the sins of the fathers.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Fear not

          Most of them will get pregnant and quit.

    4. Yugguy

      Re: Why is there such a push to get women into IT?

      Given that the average IT nerd looks like the backend of a bus, why would you NOT want more girls?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My solemn promise

    If I ever see any suitably-qualified, yet stunningly attractive, candidates for our engineering vacancies - I guarantee not to discriminate against them.

    1. John G Imrie

      Re: My solemn promise

      Does that include the men?

      1. NumptyScrub

        Re: My solemn promise

        quote: "Does that include the men?"

        Obviously; the original post failed to mention gender in any form, so by definition it would include stunningly attractive people of any gender.

        That would be the default interpretation of such a claim, anyway ;)

        1. alwarming

          Re: My solemn promise

          > it would include stunningly attractive people of any gender

          I suspect that the "beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder(OP)" caveat applies here...

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: My solemn promise

      Yes, but will they reciprocate?

      Rhetorical question: most likely they will not.

  10. Scott Broukell
    Meh

    Stunned silence

    I was once asked onto an interview panel and posed the question "Would you consider getting them out for the lads?" to a particularly pretty and well-endowed young woman interviewee. A split second later I realised that, more accurately, what a colleague had said minutes before the interview was such questioning was "Taboo" and not "To do" as I had interpreted it. I wasn't invited onto many more interview panels after that.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Stunned silence

      Down votes?

      Some people just have no sense of humor.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloke turns up for an interview...

    I know I don’t look like your typical applicant, but I really want this job as a lingerie model...

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Bloke turns up for an interview...

      Well if they aren't advertising to blokes too, they are missing half their market!

  12. Shaha Alam

    does the register track mouse clicks?

    i'd like to know how many times the article was loaded vs how many times the link to the professors page was clicked.

  13. Ryan Clark

    I think going into an interview and mentioning your own attractiveness is more likely to be the problem. People who think they are good looking and then complaining they didn't get a job because they are too good looking sound like classic narcarssists

  14. Yugguy

    I get this all the time

    I'm told I can't work in IT as I'm too well-dressed.

    It's a cross I have to bear.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: I get this all the time

      Alpha basement bois think dressing decently is a sign of conformity.

      1. Yugguy

        Re: I get this all the time

        "Alpha basement bois"

        I don't even know what that means.

        I'm so uncool.

  15. null 1

    It's a two-fold problem

    Keep in mind I'm speaking out of youth and no shortage of ignorance. Someone correct me where I'm wrong.

    I think the problem is two-fold: one side of is that we men have trouble remaining objective around beautiful women. Can anybody refute this? The second side is that "beautiful"l women are often "beautiful" because they're dressed immodestly.

    I can't speak for everyone, but when a beautiful woman dressed in splendid attire and smelling of sweet perfume, I have trouble focusing on the task at hand.

    Trust me, the natural inclination of a man is *not* to shut beautiful women out. The natural inclination is to favor them and promote them beyond their competence in a transparent attempt to get laid. For this reason, we shut them out to maintain our integrity and the highly meritocratic nature of our workplace. Just as professional women must struggle to maintain both their professionalism and professional image, so must we men.

    In our industry, objectivity is paramount. We use the intellectual tools of logic and mathematics analyze data and to solve problems. I think office romance and the perceived likelihood of office romance is anathema to our job. Maybe we overcompensate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're bang on the money

      I've been in the position of choosing between two candidates of different gender but similar experience and skill set. We chose the man for our all male team because a woman was not, as HR people smarmily say, a good cultural fit. A man (a) will never claim discrimination (b) will not disrupt the team by attracting team members which is both a distraction and a potential source of conflict (c) does not have a mood cycle and will not ask for maternity leave (d) will not require a whole new bathroom (e) will not dramatically restrict your options for social activities.

      For a team of women I prefer more women for the same reasons. Even (c) is greatly mitigated when the team is all female because (I saw this) they start a sort of DIY childcare centre and support group instead of vanishing for months and expecting to walk back into a job which either was filled by someone else the day they left or has proven unnecessary.

      So, I'm against mixed gender teams. In respect of IT, all-female teams are like anti-matter: they ought to exist in equal distribution but for some inexplicable reason you just don't get them.

      You said there's a natural tendency to curry favour with attractive women in hopes that they will return the favour. That sometimes happens. For the very beautiful it often goes the other way, because people fear their actions will be seen in this way. As a result, striking but not especially sexually attractive people benefit most from this.

      1. ZippedyDooDah

        Re: You're bang on the money

        "(d) will not require a whole new bathroom"

        Too damn right! Anybody who expects any kind of bathroom is far too demanding. They should put up with toilets like everybody else.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't hate me 'cos I don't have B.O. worked for me back in the 1990's..

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