This is how your hair color can affect whether you're promoted at work

This is how your hair color can affect whether you're promoted at work

Getting a promotion at work comes down to a number of things. I'd say it starts with confidence, ambition and being able to ask for what you want. Of course, it also depends on whether you're really good at your job and apparently... your hair colour.

Sounds pretty odd, I know. And while I'm not saying the colour of your hair is the be all and end all of your career ladder climbing capabilities, it turns out that some people claim that being a brunette can help you get promoted at work.

According to Eileen Carey, a Silicon Valley CEO, she was thinking about how she could raise her chances of being taken seriously while asking for a promotion at work before she started her company, Glassbreakers. Carey said she landed the senior management position because she darkened her hair from blonde to brown, and changed her contact lenses for glasses.

While this all sounds pretty dubious - I mean, wearing glasses to look "smarter" is such a cliche - it apparently worked. She told BBC that there was a "benefit to dye my hair brown because there was a stronger pattern recognition of brunette women CEOs."

But what's kind of problematic is that she was reportedly "told" that the investors she was pitching to would probably take her more seriously if she was a brunette. Her comments sparked a bit of a debate, but as controversial as her anecdotal account may be, it seems that a few studies do support her claim.

A 2009 study by Garnier Nutrisse hair colouring concluded that 76 per cent of the 6,000 participants thought brunettes were smarter and 66 per cent saw them as less moody than blondes. 31 per cent of British blonde women said they'd switched to brunette to be taken more seriously at work, according to a 2009 survey by Superdrug. Additionally, it was found that 62 per cent of UK workers believe that brunettes look more professional.

"Being a brunette helps me to look a bit older and I needed that, I felt, in order to be taken seriously," Carey said. She even claimed it helps men see her "as a business leader and not as a sexual object".

Sounds depressing, but that may be true too. An Augsburg University study found that men find blondes more attractive, healthier and younger than any other hair colour. They also said that they found blondes to seem more "promiscuous", meaning they'd be more like to ask them out on a date.

Colour psychologist Anjula Mutanda agrees, telling the Telegraph said it might be because we associate blondes with youth and brunettes with maturity.

"Some hair colours tend to darken naturally with age and so brown hair can be associated with confidence and self-awareness," she said. "These positive qualities install a sense of trust and assurance which is mirrored in how others behave towards them."

But while all that may be true in theory, it turns out that another survey found that in real life, it's blondes who tend to have higher-ranking jobs than any other hair colour. Two business school professors at the University of British Columbia found  that female CEOs and senators were disproportionately blonde back in 2016. They found that blondes made up 48 per cent of female chief executives at S&P 500 companies and 35 per cent of female senators.

So, in conclusion? There might be ingrained perceptions of character traits between blondes and brunettes (and other shades too), but it really comes down to the individual. Anyone with the drive and conviction to ask for a promotion and know what they want out of life is aware that their hair colour won't get in the way of success.