Personality Bonus

A key to success may be the fit between your personality and your job.

By Amanda Furrer, published March 1, 2018 - last reviewed on May 8, 2018

Maciej Walczak/Shutterstock

Are you a classically introverted librarian or an outgoing salesperson? Maybe you're a deeply caring doctor, nurse, or therapist. While many choose their careers out of passion or necessity, a key component of success—including your salary—may be the fit between your personality and your job.

In a study of more than 8,000 German workers published in Psychological Science, researchers investigated whether the match-up of people's personalities and the traits demanded by their jobs would predict how much money they made. People who rated highly for openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, or emotional stability and who worked in a job that called for that trait earned more, on average, than did their peers. More surprisingly, highly conscientious people in positions that required relatively low levels of the trait actually tended to make less than others. And in the domain of agreeableness, the highest earners scored lower than what was advised for their jobs.