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Bearded & Tschorn

Is there a 'facial-hair ceiling' in the American workplace?

November 21, 2013|By Adam Tschorn
  • Only about 30% of respondents to the American Mustache Institute's Workplace Mustache Study have an immediate supervisor with a beard or mustache.
Only about 30% of respondents to the American Mustache Institute's… (American Mustache Institute )

Although 'stache-acceptance in the American workplace is high, the incidence of lip spinach gets pencil thin as you climb the corporate ladder.

Those are among the key takeaways of the American Mustache Institute's recently completed Wahl-sponsored Workplace Mustache Study.

Of the 1,109 people who completed the institute's online opinion survey, 91.7% of respondents agreed with the statement: "I believe mustaches are appropriate for the workplace." In addition, 75.27% think their workplace "benefits from the contributions of Mustached Americans"; 68.05% think "Mustached Americans are strong managers and business leaders"; and 81.75% of respondents picked "works hard" as a workplace behavior they associate with "people of Mustached American descent."

Despite that apparently overwhelming endorsement of whiskers in the workplace, only 29.64% of respondents reported having an immediate supervisor who wears a beard or mustache, leading the institute to conclude, tongue very firmly in hairy cheek, that there is a secret 'stache bias afoot.

“It’s encouraging to know that nine out of 10 Americans surveyed believe mustaches are appropriate for the workplace,” the institute noted in announcing its findings. “But it would appear there is a definitive ‘facial hair ceiling,’ if you will, presenting Mustached Americans with fewer opportunities for advancement and leadership than their clean-shaven counterparts.”

The big non-mustachioed elephant in the room here of course is that the female of the species, while having made considerable strides in the workplace over the decades, still has little choice when it comes to cultivating a cookie-duster. By default, any woman in a supervisory capacity will appear to stack the deck.

We're not going to split hairs though, but instead seize the opportunity, in the waning days of Movember, to make a suggestion. Mustachioed Movember men of middle management, instead of denuding your facial forest when the charity growing period ends Nov. 30, why not simply stoke that 'stache into a follicular flag of full facial-hair acceptance?

Think of it as breaking -- make that parting -- the facial hair ceiling once and for all.

Complete results of the American Mustache Institute's Workplace Mustache Study can be found at the group's website:


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