Does this bad habit really make people less employable?

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A recent survey has found an interesting link between one common vice and a person’s overall employability and eventual pay packet – but is the bad habit really to blame?

According to a recent U.S. study, smokers on jobseekers allowance find it harder to land a job than those who are nicotine-free – when they do eventually get a chance, they’re paid CA$6.43 less an hour.

The researchers, from the Stanford University School of Medicine, also found that smokers were more than 25 per cent more likely to still be unemployed after a year, compared to non-smokers.

Associate professor of medicine Dr Judith Prochaska acknowledged the link but said it was not yet clear if smoking was the cause or result of unemployment.

“You don't know if smokers have a harder time finding work or if smokers are more likely to lose their jobs – or that when non-smokers lose their jobs, they become stressed and start to smoke,” she explained.

Prochaska conducted the study in California, where it was revealed that the majority of unemployed job-seekers were habitual smokers.

The study took into consideration the fact that the average smoker tends to be younger, less-educated and in poorer health than non-smokers – all differences which could influence a job-seekers ability to find work – and deliberately selected participants who had a similar background.

The investigation followed 131 unemployed smokers and 120 unemployed non-smokers over a period of 12 months – despite having equal qualifications, after a year just 27 per cent of smokers had found jobs compared with 56 per cent of non-smokers.

Smokers who did manage to find by the end of the year-long study earned on average CA$6.43 less per hour than non-smokers.

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