Many people who have cosmetic facial surgery feel better about their jobs when they return to work, according new research by the University of Melbourne.

Ms Alicia Kalus and Professor Christina Cregan, from the Faculty of Business and Economics, analysed responses from questionnaires completed by 121 adult patients who had undergone facial surgery.

 About 80 per cent of the patients from two major private aesthetic plastic surgery clinics in Melbourne were women aged between 19 and 68 with an average age of 42.  Almost half had undergone nose surgery, a third had eyelid surgery, and a quarter had a facelift.

 “We found that change in self-esteem following surgery was associated with how employees subsequently felt about their jobs,” Professor Cregan says.

 "Many experienced higher levels of job satisfaction and lower levels of burnout, although others experienced the reverse."

 Ms Kalus says extensive research has demonstrated that people seen to be attractive by others receive a “beauty premium” in terms of factors related to job success, such as income.

 “Our findings, however, showed that changed self-esteem following aesthetic surgery influenced how people felt about their work. It supports other research which shows that job success is partly a result of the fact that people who think they are beautiful have high self-esteem.”

 Ms Kalus says self-esteem is related to many factors, including physical attractiveness. For many patients, cosmetic surgery has advantages.

 “Historically, beauty has historically been an important factor in female advancement,” Ms Kalus says.

 “However, rewarding beauty is not good for companies. In most jobs, beauty is not a productive resource. Companies should focus on rewarding only those qualities that are linked to performance.

“If workplaces reward talent and effort, women and girls may come to rely less on the traditional emphasis on beauty as a basis for self-esteem.” 

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