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Friday, Jun 2, 2023

New Faces for Older Execs

Dr. Anna Guanche, a dermatologist and partner at Bella Skin Institute in Calabasas, is used to performing cosmetic procedures on actors and actresses for whom a youthful look is often a critical part of their marketability. But in recent years, she’s noticed a trend: More and more job seekers outside the entertainment industry are coming in to request Botox, wrinkle fillers and other non-surgical aesthetic enhancements. “I’ve definitely seen an uptick in people coming in for rejuvenation not just in general, but for the specific purpose of making themselves more marketable,” Guanche said. In particular, Guanche has noticed men in the technology industry are a growth sector among her patient population. “In the tech industry, where many colleagues are much younger than them, they’re being discounted for looking distinguished and older,” said Guanche, referring to her customers. “(They wonder) whether the younger guys are thinking, ‘What do you know about this field?’” Botox for CEOs A study undertaken last year by marketing firm Statista found that the average ages of employees at Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc. are 28, 29 and 30, respectively. In an industry dominated by workers in their late 20s, some older workers trying to break into the field face an age challenge. Executives from other industries are turning to Guanche for a refresh as well, she added. Whether they are launching a new company or preparing for a major presentation, an increasing number of high-profile executives are showing up for subtle injections of Botox. “They will specifically tell me, ‘I’m a CEO of a company, and I need to look vibrant so people feel like this company is going to be stable for a long time,’” Guanche said. Their role puts them in the public eye – they often have to get up and give speeches or appear on television as the face of their firm, she added. “When they start out on their careers, they don’t want to look too young, because they want to be taken seriously,” Guanche said. “But then they get to a point where they’re 45 and they start wanting to look younger.” Additionally, longer lifespans are affording opportunities for people to take on new endeavors, Guanche said. Some of the older executives she sees are successful entrepreneurs who are preparing to launch new ventures. “These guys aren’t winding down,” she said. “People have more careers during their lifetime now.” While procedures like Botox and fillers are becoming more accepted, men are still wary of coming out of a doctor’s office with signs of cosmetic work, Guanche noted. Women’s challenges “Most job applicants who come in for cosmetic enhancements are women,” Guanche said. “They are often in a period of transition, either having been recently laid off or making a switch to a different career.” “Women especially feel that ageism,” Guanche said. “They don’t want to be beat out for a job by a younger woman.” Older women are participating in the labor force to a greater degree today than the past, and are expected to comprise a larger share of the workforce in coming years. Women over the age of 55 will make up roughly 25 percent of all working women by 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in a report last year. Yet older women seem to face barriers to getting those jobs; a study published last year by economists David Neumark, Ian Burn, and Patrick Button of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that college-educated women between the ages of 55 and 64 were significantly less likely to get a call-back for job interviews for sales jobs than either younger women or men of the same age. Despite legislation that prevents job applicants from being forced to disclose their age during the hiring process, such as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, women do not want physical signs of aging to work against them, Guanche explained. “Women have said to me over the years, ‘I became invisible,’” Guanche said. “People discount them – they think they look tired or haggard, or like they’re ready to throw in the towel.” The trend is apparent beyond the stereotypical vanity of Southern California. Dr. Charles Crutchfield III, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota and clinical coordinator at Crutchfield Dermatology, started noticing about two years ago an increase in older female job hunters coming in to request cosmetic enhancements. “I see so many women getting back into the workforce,” Crutchfield said. “They say, ‘I have to compete against younger people, so I want to look my best.’” Both Guanche and Crutchfield see many patients in the performing arts. Women in entertainment have long been wary of their “expiration date”; the laws that protect workers in other industries from being asked their age do not always translate to the nuances of the film and television world. Women may still be asked their age by casting directors or by agents who are considering representing them, and competition from younger talent is always a threat. The same challenges hold for men to a lesser degree, Guanche noted. “Part of an actor’s job, besides talent, is to look amazing,” she said. “They face a lot of pressure and a lot of scrutiny.” Cost of confidence Job seekers, tech workers and executives alike are willing to drop between $2,000 and $3,000 for a full facial rejuvenation, Guanche said. That includes filler and Botox injections for the main makeover, along with additional skin-tightening procedures and laser resurfacing. Men in particular are interested in Kybella, an injectable treatment for reducing fat under the neck. “I call it ‘Guy-bella’,” Guanche said. “They love it because the results are permanent. For some reason they don’t associate it with the same stigma as they do Botox and fillers.” Do crow’s feet and worry lines really prevent job hunters from sealing the deal with a prospective employer, and are hip 20-somethings at tech firms really looking down on their older colleagues? Not necessarily, Guanche said. “It may just be a feeling – this is what the patients tell me when they come in,” she explained. At the core of the patient’s motivation for seeking out cosmetic enhancement is a confidence boost, Guanche added. Ideally, the higher self-esteem that results from looking more “vibrant” translates to better performance in a job interview. “The people who seek these treatments are feeling the rejection of ageism,” Guanche said. “When they do something to fix it, they act the way they look and feel.” From a human resources standpoint, Botox, fillers or other cosmetic enhancements are not necessary for an older applicant to have a successful job search, Mark Wilbur, chief executive of EverythingHR in Beverly Hills, said. “My inner CEO would like to believe and hold true that (job applicants) get hired because of their value proposition and skill sets, versus getting rid of a few wrinkles on their forehead with a couple quality injections,” Wilbur said. Still, if a job applicant’s self-esteem improves and they are better able to sell themselves as a result, then cosmetic enhancement is perhaps a worthwhile investment, he added. “Honestly, if John Doe thinks getting rid of a couple wrinkles makes him feel younger, no harm, no foul,” he said. “If that makes you feel better, go for it.”

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