Over two-thirds of U.K. bosses (68.6%) said they would be less likely to employ a female job applicant if she didn’t wear makeup at an interview. The survey, from U.K. beauty retailer Escentual.com, also showed that 49% of bosses said it would be a major factor if the job was in sales or was a public-facing role in the company.
Figures were similar for promotion prospects, with 60.8% of company executives saying that if female staff members didn’t wear cosmetics on a regular basis it would have a detrimental effect, and 39.2% said female staff would be much less likely to get promoted if the job entailed meeting people and members of the public.
The survey also showed that 67% of bosses would take a dim view of female staff not wearing makeup at key business meetings. There does appear to be some justification in this however, as two-thirds of female staff (66.4%) said they would feel much less confident if they were at a high-level meeting without cosmetics on.
Escentual.com beauty editor Emma Leslie said of the report, “Whether rightly or wrongly, British bosses clearly think that keeping up appearances at work is an important factor for female staff if they want to get on in their career. It's also quite startling to learn that women feel that they need makeup in order to impress at work, and our survey showed there is a strong psychological element to wearing makeup that makes women feel more poised, confident and 'put together.’ We would like to point out that great skin care, healthy diet and positive attitude are also fantastic for boosting confidence, and that should also be an attractive thing for employers.”
Clearly the message was getting through from employers, as 63.8% of female staff surveyed said they would always wear makeup at work, and 98% said they would wear makeup to a job interview. There was one exception to the makeup-at-work rule however; most women said they would go without makeup at work for charity, and said that Breast Cancer Care’s #DareToBare campaign was one such example. The charity provides support for women and families suffering from breast cancer, and they are asking women to get sponsored to go to work without makeup on throughout Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.
Leslie noted, “There clearly is one exception to the rule that you should wear makeup at work if you want to get on, and that's if it's for a very good cause—and Breast Cancer Care is certainly that. It might seem a bit strange that a company such as Escentual.com that sells cosmetics is actually asking women to stop using them for a day or two, or maybe even a whole month, but that’s how strongly we feel about this cause, and we hope that with Dare to Bare we can really make a difference.”