SYDNEY: The recession has made beefy blokes like Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig more appealing than scented metrosexuals like Hugh Grant and Leonardo DiCaprio, an Australian sociologist said.

Demographer Bernard Salt said that as the global financial crisis wore on, lots of women would eye a motor mechanic for a life partner rather than an investment banker.

“During the downturn, the theory is that women are concerned about safety, security and food supply, so their taste in men will shift from the androgynous, hairless metrosexual towards the more muscular, primal, hairy male,” Salt told Australian news agency AAP. He predicted the desired body shape would “shift from hairless, sleek, a bit wimpy, to the more muscular” as economies sank deeper into recession.

Film-star looks were likely to change too, with the androgynous Zac Efrons fading from view and the hirsute, sweaty Russell Crowes taking their place.

“I’m sure that’s quite appealing to some women and the market for that will expand,” he said on April 5.

Salt predicted that the most-eligible bachelors might be plumbers, electricians and other tradesman who had skills that were marketable in good times and in bad. But unlikely to shift, Salt said, was a trend that had seen women want good-looking men rather than just men who are good breadwinners.

He noted that in the women’s magazines of 20 years ago, the Bachelor of the Week would always be fully clothed whereas these days they were pictured in their knickers. “It’s the objectification of men, the ‘we can do it too’,” Salt said. “It’s terrific fun. It shows a greater confidence in women.”