26. april 2018

Miriam Gensowski publishes article in The Harvard Business Review

"These 3 Personality Traits Affect What You Earn - but only After Age 40"

We often hear about the power of personality, and how some traits are beneficial for our careers while others are more harmful. For example, we know that being more conscientious (hard-working, driven, reliable, and organized) is associated with better job performance, and that being nice (more agreeable) does not pay off in wages. But it is less clear when these personality traits matter most for our careers (are they more important earlier on, or in the middle?) and who benefits most from them.

In a recent paper, I investigate these questions by looking at the connection between personality traits and lifetime earnings among men at different ages. I find that men’s earnings are not affected by personality at all in the beginning of their careers, but that men who are more 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.  The overall effect of personality on lifetime earnings is large – in the same order of magnitude as the average lifetime earnings difference between high school and college graduates in my sample: over $1.2 million USD (2017).

You can read the research article here