The high level of stress in modern societies causes a high level of mental burnout, but in theory we can expect certain personality types to protect us more from these effects and to help us move up to the best jobs. Personality traits are, after all, closely related to the way we experience our working lives.

A few days ago, the paper “Is personality related to permanent earnings?” was published in the online Journal of Economic Psychology by Terhi Maczulskij and Jutta Viinikainen. In this report, it is explained how our personality characteristics can have a direct influence on our salary and career path.

Personality and income level

In the world of economics, the personality of individuals has been influenced on numerous occasions to determine the success or failure of each worker, depending on their psychological characteristics such as empathy, affection or emotional stability. In order to determine the correlation between personality and salary, several variables are crossed.

As a starting point, we take data from the CentER Saving Survey, from the Economics Research Centre, Tilburg University (Netherlands), a data panel that provides information on personality. But, in addition to personality, differences between the male and female gender are also taken into account. From the analysis of these data, some curiosities have been found; for example, that men have the tendency to consider negatively the empathy to have a successful salary, while women value it positively.

The vast majority of studies carried out on the effect of personality on future employment conclude, broadly speaking, with the same precepts: the effect of personality can have a great influence on professional success based on the money one earns , this influence being above that of the cultural level acquired in our environment.

Neuroticism, which is a low load of emotional control, and emotional stability (planning, prudence, confidence) are by far the most explanatory factors of the relationship with job success, as measured by promotion, appraisal and wages. A study carried out in the United States with 5,000 individuals showed in 2014 that self-control in adolescence was a good predictor of job success or failure.

Personality, a unique factor?

Returning to the topic described in the introduction, by Terhi Maczulskij and Jutta Viinikainen (2018), these researchers include a new element to determine and specify the study of personality. They use previous studies and cross-check the data with studies of homozygous twins (with the same DNA) or dizygous twins (with different DNA). A study of almost 5,000 twins was carried out, 53% of which were women.

In absolute terms, the results have been revealing. Comparing the monozygotic twins of the decigotes, the former show many more similarities between them in terms of salary, personality and demographics , while the latter show more disparity in those terms.

This research also shows that the level of neuroticism of each person is a determining factor . According to results, this has been the personal trait with the greatest effect on the possibilities of earning more or less, whatever the culture and education of the individuals, although it is especially relevant in women. Specifically, the lower the level of neuroticism, the greater the possibility of earning a lot of money. The authors state that personality is a key element in job success, but that it is not exclusive either, since biological factors also influence our personality itself.

In short, you could say that everything is connected. Personality is influenced by biological effects; the cultural environment provokes a concrete development in personality and, ultimately, our cognitive level represents clear evidence of how we move in the labour market. The more education, assertiveness, happiness and self-control we have, the richer and more fulfilled we feel.