Magazine article Psychology Today

The Wages of Personality

Magazine article Psychology Today

The Wages of Personality

Article excerpt

SURE, EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, skills, and natural ability all contribute to the salary you can expect to make. But your personality affects your paycheck, too. How much? Here's a close look at how character interacts with compensation. -Katherine Schreiber



Nice guys rake in about $10,000 less than coworkers who aren't shy about stepping on a few toes, finds organizational behavior researcher Charlice Hurst. Kinder people are also more likely to gravitate towards socially rewarding, less lucrative professions like social work.


Social psychologist Daniel Spurk notes that more adaptable employees may leapfrog over rigid and easily defeated neurotics on their way to the top. Cornell researchers found that executives one standard deviation above the mean on neuroticism and agreeableness pulled in $36,011 less than their peers.


Businessmen who openly embrace ethics make 3.4 percent less than their immoral peers, econometrics researcher Andrew Hussey finds. They may be penalized for being less aggressive, but that lack of aggression Is valued in women, who earn more when their morals are intact. …

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