November 26, 2013
If you are considering sporting a mustache to your next business meeting, we have both good and bad news for you. The good: A new study from the American Mustache Institute reports that facial hair is increasingly accepted among co-workers and hiring managers. The bad: Mustached employees are less likely to hold management and leadership positions, indicating there may be what the Institute calls a "facial hair ceiling" in the American workplace.
The new study, called the Workplace Mustache Survey, was conducted in conjunction with Wahl Trimmers, and queried more than 1100 people about facial hair trends in the workplace and how they perceived mustached or bearded colleagues. Business Insider calls it the first major study on facial hair in the workplace since 1991.
The results suggest facial hair is having a bit of a renaissance: the report notes that 71 percent of respondents said they work with a "Mustached American male or female" at least once a week, and more than 45 percent work daily with someone with some general facial hair. The results suggest professional acceptance of mustaches is also booming, with the vast bulk or respondents saying mustaches are okay in the workplace and that they would recommend a job opening to a mustached friend.
"A impressively robust 92 percent of Americans surveyed believe mustaches are appropriate for the workplace," American Mustache Institute Chief Executive Officer Dr. Adam Paul Causgrove said in the report summary. "The finding defies current facially hairless social ideals and signals a tipping point for the current shaving-normative culture."
But in a survey featuring a number of lighthearted findings -- like the suggestion that mustached workers are perceived to work hard and play hard, and are prone to exhibiting "vast displays of upper body strength" -- there lies the very real implication that having facial hair might limit your professional growth. According to the report, only 30 percent of respondents said they reported to a supervisor with facial hair at work.
"It would appear there is a definitive 'facial hair ceiling,' if you will," said Dr. Causgrove. "We've observed this anecdotally for decades at the Institute, and now we have data to confirm it. Mustached Americans have fewer opportunities for advancement and leadership than their shaven counterparts."
In a Huffington Post article penned by Dr. Abraham Froman, COO of the American Mustache Institute and the self-proclaimed leading facial hair advocate in the world, Master Barber Ben Phillips with Wahl Trimmers recommends considering the more conservative nature of the corporate business environment when deciding to grow facial hair. He suggests carefully choosing a style that suits your face, keeping it clean and detailed, and going to a professional barber to achieve the desired look.
Business Insider describes the AMI as the world's only facial hair advocacy and research organization with more than 800 global chapters. The Institute itself claims to be "the bravest organization in the history of mankind behind only the U.S. Military and the post-Jim Henson Muppets."
Compiled by Aimee Hosler
"Study Finds a "Facial Hair Ceiling" in the American Workplace," huffingtonpost.com, November 23, 2013, Dr. Abraham Froman, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-abraham-froman/study-finds-american-work_b_4311768.html
"Study: Most Accept Workplace Facial Hair, But There's A 'Mustache Ceiling,'" businessinsider.com, November 22, 2013, Christina Sterbenz, http://www.businessinsider.com/results-of-study-on-facial-hair-in-the-workplace-2013-11
"The Workplace Mustache Study," americanmustacheinstitute.org, November 16, 2013, AMI Staff, http://www.americanmustacheinstitute.org/blog/2013/11/the-workplace-mustache-study/