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April 23, 2015

The personality traits linked with higher salaries

Daily Briefing

A new survey finds personality type can have a significant impact on yearly income, but it is unclear how much other factors, such as gender, interact with personality to influence earning potential, Suzannah Weiss writes for Business Insider.

Researchers from Truity Psychometrics surveyed 25,759 people about their personality type and career outcomes, although only about half of participants answered some of the career questions. Respondents were assigned one of 16 Myers-Briggs personality types based on their answers.

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Myers-Briggs classifies people based on four dimensions of personality:

  • Extroversion vs. introversion;
  • Sensing vs. intuition;
  • Thinking vs. feeling; and
  • Judging vs. perceiving.

Each person is assigned a four-letter acronym based on his or her results: E or I, S or N, T or F, and J or P.

Survey findings

Overall, those who skewed towards judging and extroversion had the highest reported incomes.  The top six personality types all favored judging over perceiving. At the other end of the spectrum, the bottom four types were all introverted.

The highest earners of all were ESTJs and ENTJs, with average salaries of $77,000 and $76,000, respectively. The lowest earners were ISTP and ISFP individuals, who averaged $32,000.

However, some introverted personality types—such as ISTJ—ranked in the top half of earners. ISTJs made $59,000 on average.

The researchers say salary differences could be chalked up to some personality types, including extroverts and judgers, gravitating toward managerial roles.

The role of gender

Gender may also be a factor in personality earnings differences. For instance, men generally earn more than women and also make up about two-thirds of ESTJs, the highest earning personality type.

However, after comparing personalities of men and women separately, the gap between the top-earning personality type and the lowest was greater among men than among women. 

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Even so, Weiss notes that the researchers do not fully address the intertwined nature of gender and personality. "We as a culture cultivate more extrovert-like qualities, such as assertiveness and competitiveness, in men than women and then privilege these 'masculine' traits when we seek people to fill leadership roles," she writes.

For instance, Weiss says that research has shown women are generally less likely to ask for a raise, "which may be symptomatic of introverted qualities we conversely encourage in women" (Weiss, Bustle/Business Insider, 4/20).

The takeaway: A new survey finds people with extroverted personalities tend to earn more money, but gender may also play a role in explaining the earnings gaps.

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