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Editor’s Blog: I bet you look good on the shop floor…

Don’t remortgage your house for that MBA – apparently getting veneers and some Botox fillers is the way to enhance your career prospects.

According to Aziz Corporation, “the UK’s leading independent executive leadership and development consultancy” – and regular darkener of the door to my email inbox with its unsolicited and, frankly, frequently bizarre press releases – has polled a bunch of “executives” and found that 60 percent of them believe bad teeth are “unacceptable” in business. Aziz’s research found that both men and women would choose cosmetic dentistry as their top cosmetic procedure to have – followed for women by Botox, liposuction and a facelift, and for men by eye-bag removal and treatment for baldness. And that’s precipitated by 96 percent of those it asked admitting that they believe a “pleasing physical appearance will enhance professional progress”.

If boardroom equality appears to still be lacking in your company, it might be that your board members just aren’t sharing their inner career feelings; the percentage of men and women execs worrying about how their looks affect their career progression is almost the same, with 54 percent of female executives saying they’d consider having cosmetic treatments compared with 50.6 percent of men saying they’d go for it. But then 30 percent of the women Aziz asked had already had something nipped or tucked, compared with 17 percent of men admitting as much.

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I’ve always thought Lord Sugar’s former Apprentice advisor Margaret Mountford looked very distinguished and well suited to her natural hair colour, and it doesn’t seem to bother Lord Sugar, WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell or Virgin guru Sir Richard Branson much that they are members of the Silver Fox club. But if you believe Aziz, grey hair can be a real professional no-no. It says more than 50 percent of executive women admit dying their grey hair while only three percent of male respondents have: and apparently the male respondents also saw fit to comment that “grey hair makes a businessman look distinguished, but just makes a woman look old”. God forbid you look your age in the 21st century!

It’s not the hair on the head but that of the face jewellery kind that men seem to be pretty bitchy with other men about. Aziz reckons men “take a very tough stance on fellow male executives sporting beards, moustaches and designer stubble”, all of which is deemed unacceptable by 70 percent of the male execs it interviewed (women didn’t mind as much with 30 percent objecting). But in a glorious no sh*t Sherlock moment, the research also reveals that “female executives take a much tougher line of fellow females wearing short skirts or low-cut tops”. While about half of the menfolk quizzed didn’t mind women wearing revealing clothing at work, most of the women minded quite a lot.

“Our survey shows that executives are waking up to the importance of personal image,” Aziz Corp chairman, one professor Khalid Aziz, said of the findings. “We are judged every day by our appearance and those who neglect this do so at their peril.”

So there you have it. You don’t need to worry if you’re short on entrepreneurial genius or FTSE-100 headhunters won’t return your calls. Treat yourself to a Jocelyn Wildenstein or a David Gest (click the names if you want to see pictures) and you can really get yourself noticed in the boardroom.

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