Husky Voice Can Be an Obstacle to a Women's Career: Study

By , UniversityHerald Reporter

Young women with a husky voice are less likely to be hired after the final round of interview, according to a University of Miami study.

Researchers said that recruiters perceive women with low vocal range - known as 'vocal fry' or husky voice - as less attractive, educated, competent and trustworthy.

"Lack of experience due to their young age, a historically poor economic environment and sex discrimination are all barriers to labour market success for this demographic. Given this context, our findings suggest that young women would be best advised to avoid using vocal fry when trying to secure employment," Researcher Casey Klofstad said in a press release.

Previous studies showed women to be less attractive when they try to lower the pitch of their voice.

For the study, the researchers recorded the voice of seven women, aged between 19 and 27 years and seven men aged between 20 to 30 years - talking in their normal voice and with a deliberate croaky voice. They were asked to say the phrase: "Thank you for considering me for this opportunity."

Then 800 people, pretending to be recruiters, listened to each recording. They were then asked to determine which voice revealed a more educated, competent, trustworthy or attractive person.

Researchers found that people with a normal voice were recruited 80 percent of the time. The recruiters thought that people with a croaky voice were less likely to be educated, competent, trustworthy or attractive. Plus, women were more likely to be viewed in a negative light if they spoke in a croaky voice as compared to men.

Klofstad said that humans favour vocal characteristics that are typical of population norms. They find "average" sounding voices to be more attractive.

"It is possible that speakers of vocal fry are generally perceived less favourably because vocal fry is accompanied by a dramatic reduction in voice pitch relative to normal speech. You could view the results we found as an extension of this to an economic context, whereby deliberate lowering of voice pitch in a sex-atypical manner by women through vocal fry results in negative perceptions by potential employers," Klofstad said.

The finding is published in the journal Plos One.

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