Job-Personality Fit Contributes to Financial Success

Would you take a job that was a bad fit for your personality to make a lot of money? If so, you might be doing it wrong.

That’s because, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, being financially successful may in part depend on finding a job that suits your temperament.

In the study, researchers from the Netherlands, the United States and Germany surveyed over eight thousand people who were employed. They asked the people what their jobs were and administered personality questionnaires. Then, they had a panel of experts rate the personality demands for each job.

For example, jobs that require working with people a lot might require higher extraversion. Jobs that require being constantly exposed to new situations might need higher openness. And jobs that require more self-discipline and consistency might demand higher conscientiousness.

Next, the researchers compared how people’s actual personalities fit the personality demands of their occupations. It turned out that the better the fit between someone’s personality and job, the higher that person’s income tended to be.

Interestingly, this was true even when people’s personality traits seemed to “exceed” the requirements for their jobs. For example, conscientiousness is generally thought of as a helpful trait in the workplace, so the researchers thought people with higher conscientiousness might make more money overall. But it turned out that in jobs that didn’t demand high conscientiousness, people with high conscientiousness ended up making less.

So apparently, finding a job that meshes well with your personality isn’t just a good idea for your happiness and mental health. It’s also a good idea for your finances and career prospects!

According to the authors of the paper, then, this finding suggests that “economic success depends not only on having a ‘successful personality’ but also, in part, on finding the best niche for one’s personality.”

Image: Flickr/Reuben Bedingfield