Extroverts Earn $18,000 More Than Introverts: Does Your Personality Type Really Affect Your Income?
I have always been labeled as a quiet and shy kid.
I enjoyed my time reading alone, I loved observing the surroundings and didn’t always enjoy having tons of group work.
Being raised in a society where we are often praised for being outspoken and where participation points form part of your grades, being introverted felt like a character flaw for the longest time.
We are often urged to be sociable, to be comfortable in the spotlight, to take risks, and to be the life at a dinner party.
And being vastly different from this ideal could feel a little wrong sometimes.
As I grew older, I realise that I wasn’t alone.
I felt connected to so many others, and would often feel entertained and understood when I came across memes about introverts.
Being in the generation where we’re so vested in personality quizzes and tests, I’m sure most of us would be curious about the correlation between personality types and careers.
TL;DR: How Personality Types Influence Career Decisions and Outcomes
In this article, we take a look at some results of a study done in 2015 on personality types and careers.
Here are some points we’ll cover:
- Personality Types vs Yearly Income
- Personality Types vs Managerial Responsibilities
- How Leadership Qualities Differ In Extroverts & Introverts
- Practical Career Tips for Introverts
Study Shows That Introverts Earn Less Than Extroverts
When I came across this study done by Truity Psychometrics in 2015, it was interesting yet unsurprising to me.
According to this study, researchers discovered that introverts make less money than extroverts.
Out of the 14 Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality types that have been studied, introverts make up 5 of the 7 lowest earners based on average yearly income.
Note: This test had a relatively small sample size of 1,505 subjects and is based in the U.S.. Nevertheless, it offers a glimpse into certain trends that are worth looking at.
Here’s the data in table form:
|Personality Type||Average Yearly Income (US$)|
|ESTP & ESFP||$50,153|
|ISFP & ISTP||$32,357|
ESTJs and ENTJs top the chart with more than US$76,000 in yearly income.
ISPs and INTPs bottom the chart at about US$32,000 to US$36,000 in yearly income.
The analysis also showed the differences between different individual dimensions.
Overall, Extroverts, Sensors, Thinkers, and Judgers have higher average incomes than their counterparts.
Personality Types and Managerial Responsibilities
This study also took a look at the correlation between the personality types and the number of people they managed at work.
|Personality Type||Average People Managed|
ENTJs and ESTJs top this chart as well.
This is unsurprising given how we have a preconceived notion that leaders tend to be people who speak out, give orders, and are most often the most dominant person in a group.
In fact, according to Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power Of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, she mentioned how workplaces are designed mostly for extroverts and their need for lots of stimulation, allowing them to thrive and take on an upper management role (i.e. a higher-earning job).
In a Harvard Business Review in 2006, it was revealed that 65% of senior corporate executives surveyed viewed introversion as a barrier to leadership.
As such, introverts are also commonly overlooked for leadership positions, even though they can be wonderful leaders as well.
Extroverts and Introverts Both Make Great Leaders
The good news is – both extroverts and introverts make great leaders.
Extroverted leaders are often assertive and provide clear authority structure and direction.
According to Adam M. Grant, an American psychologist and author, extroverted leaders are great when it comes to reactive teammates, where team members are looking for direction from authorities and are ready to follow any directions that are set.
Extroverts are also usually charismatic, have strong social skills, and provides a clear and dominant vision for their team.
However, it’s interesting to note that introverted leaders can often deliver better outcomes than extroverts.
For instance, introverted leaders are more effective with proactive team members.
In such situations, they are much more likely to hear more ideas and listen, and make people feel valued.
They are more receptive to suggestions and they give more space for team members to run with their own ideas.
In a world that values proactivity and individual responsibility, introverted leaders are a wonderful fit as team members get the autonomy to make their own decisions.
Practical Career Tips For Introverts
Luckily for us introverts, the study above isn’t all doom and gloom for us.
Many companies are starting to realise the real value of introverts and how their strengths can contribute greatly to the team.
Nevertheless, networking and collaboration are seen as important pillars for careers today, and this might require introverts to step out of their comfort zones.
But this does not mean that introverts should shy away from such opportunities.
Susan Cain has a few career tips for introverted individuals to thrive in today’s world.
1) Choose Your Business or Career Wisely
Cain notes the importance of choosing a job that suits your temperament.
When you know yourself well, you would be able to understand what type of environment you thrive in.
This means that you should choose a line of work that fits you and your personality.
Get to know what you’re good at and learn how to leverage these skills in your career.
As you excel in your work and become a specialist in your own field, you’ll be able to command a better salary.
That being said, being passionate about something might sometimes require you to step out of your comfort zone.
Cain herself was terrified of public speaking but had to do it to promote her book, a book on a topic (on introversion, no less) she was deeply passionate about.
In such cases, what’s important is that you do not avoid discomfort entirely, but find ways around it to make it more approachable.
In her case, she practised public speaking by starting in small and safe environments.
With practice over time, she was able to build up stamina and strength to handle situations she used to be deathly afraid of.
2) Making A Quota
This is a useful tip when it comes to having several invitations and networking events.
As introverts, there are days where we really want to stay home, yet there might be this nagging feeling that we’re missing out.
If you can relate to such a dilemma, Cain suggests coming up with a quota system.
This means fixing a number of networking events each month that you feel are reasonable for you.
Instead of going through the struggle with the decision every single time, you’ll be able to free up mental space, reduce guilt and divert this energy to do things that really matter.
3) Reframe the Idea of Networking
Networking can be such an intimidating word to many of us.
We imagine these events where we’re supposed to go around, make as many new connections as we can, and emerge from each event with a deck of business cards.
While this might work for some people, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.
Instead of looking at the word ‘network’ as something cold and distant, Cain suggests reframing it as an event to look for kindred spirits.
Instead of attempting to know as many people as you can, try to look for just one or two people that you really connect with.
These people make you want to know them better and make you want to stay in touch.
Having fewer but deeper connections makes this process a more effective and humane one, and it takes the pressure off as a bad networker.
We don’t always have to collect a huge stack of cards during our networking sessions to be a good networker.
At this point, it seems important to mention that I love extroverts.
Some of my closest people are extroverts, and I love their energy and their charisma.
To my fellow extroverts, thank you for adopting me.
All of us fall on this extrovert-introvert spectrum, and there’s no one type better than another.
But as more people learn what introverts have to offer, the bias towards extroverts will eventually disappear, and so will the income disparity between the two.