Good-looking people may get paid more than "plain Janes. " So said the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently, after an analysis of...

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NEW YORK — Good-looking people may get paid more than “plain Janes.”


So said the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis recently, after an analysis of surveys and research on the subject. And the bank was not talking about movie stars’ salaries.


Employees who are tall, slender and attractive tend to earn more and be promoted more often than those employees perceived as plain or unattractive.


In this case, beauty is in the eye of the beholder — attractiveness is subjective, based entirely on the employer’s perspective.


People with above-average looks made about 5 percent more than those with average looks. Men and women considered to have below-average looks, however, really get hit — they earned about 9 percent less than people with average looks.


Forget being pretty! No matter how you look, it’s vital that you negotiate your salary when starting a new job. Make sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth.


Here’s how:


Negotiate the package, not just a component. Focusing too much on the base salary can make you blind to what else the company is offering — or what it isn’t. Consider benefits, vacation time, matching contributions to your 401(k). Also take into account other things you might want, such as flexible hours or child care.


Don’t be afraid to ask for more. In “Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide,” economist Linda Babcock finds that men who negotiate their first salaries earn about 7.4 percent more than initially offered, an average sum of $4,000.


Consider that if you change jobs, your next salary will be based in part on your current one.


Over the years, not negotiating can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost.


Talk up your worth. If you’ve made it to the negotiation stage, your prospective employer considers you qualified to fill the position. Remind the employer what you can bring to the company.


You might cite average salaries for similar positions.


To find out what salary you should be asking for, visit www.salary.com. The site uses figures from human resources departments to provide average salaries, bonuses and benefits. You can search by job field, position, experience level and geographic location.