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How does personality affect salary?

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There are plenty variables that affect your earnings over time; education, skills and cultural capital. Now, in a study published in the Journal of Labour Economics, assistant professor of economics at the University of Copenhagen Miriam Gensowski explains how certain personality traits can affect one’s annual income and how they change over time.

Using seven decades of research from the Terman study that followed a group of about 1,500 high-IQ individuals from childhood to old age (1920s to 1990s) Gensowski was able to analyse the links between personality, education and lifetime earnings. She focused mostly on men as the study was started in the 1920s it didn’t have the same data when it came to women.

According to the research; men’s earnings are not really affected by their personalities when they are younger but it changes over time says, Gensowski in an article published in the Harvard Business Review.

“Conscientious and extroverted, as well as less agreeable, reap large benefits between their 40s and 60s. The evidence also points to a subgroup of men who benefit from these traits more than twice as much as others: those with a graduate education.”

For example; a man who is in the top 20% of agreeableness will earn about $270,000 less over their lifetime than the average working man. And when it comes to extroversion and being more organised and hardworking men who scored high on both traits will also earn more. According to Gensowski, a man who is average on extroversion will earn $600,000 more in his lifetime than a man who is in the bottom 20% of extroversion.

But it is not just Gensowski who came to these conclusions. A 2012 study titled Do Nice Guys—and Gals—Really Finish Last? The Joint Effects of Sex and Agreeableness on Income found agreeable men tend to earn less than their peers, and that this effect is virtually nonexistent for women. While other research shows that both extroversion and disagreeableness are two traits often found in the worlds most successful leaders. And a 2015 study by Truity Psychometrics based on the Briggs Myers’ 16 personality types found especially agreeable men — are less likely to be promoted to positions of leadership.

ALSO READ: Employers value personality over skills

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