Does your personality type affect how much money you make? According to a study conducted by Truity Psychometrics in the beginning of 2015, it definitely does. There are definite patterns between certain personality traits and income; some of these traits help propel people up the corporate ladder, while others inhibit their career growth. Some people seem to have all the right characteristics naturally without much effort on their part while others struggle to stay focused and organized.
What if you have a low-earning personality type?
Before we dive into details, this post isn’t intended to discourage low and average earners. While it’s unlikely that your personality will drastically change, you still have a lot of earning potential. Even if you don’t belong to one of the high-earning personality types, you still can earn just as much as they do if you can successfully copy their behavior. It might feel unnatural and difficult at first, but it’s possible to develop your inferior function with conscious effort [Source: “Jung Typology”, Marie-Louise von Franz]. Although sudden change of character is highly unlikely, personalities do tend to shift subtly over time.
Another important point to mention is that the highest earners aren’t necessarily the happiest. Some of the traits that make these people so successful aren’t the most lovable traits and may negatively affect other areas of their lives such as marriage, parenting and relationships.
Trying to be someone else will not take you there. As Daniel Nettle put in his book “Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are”, it’s a matter of finding a fruitful expression of your personality by capitalizing on the strengths and minimizing the effects of the weaknesses.
Finally, these are just statistics. You may belong to a so-called low-earning personality type and earn more than $90K per year. Steve Jobs was an ENTP; ENTPs are classified as average to low earners in this study. With $10.2 billion estimated net worth at the time of his death, do you think Steve Jobs ever worried about his “low-earning” personality type?
So who are they?
Long before the aforementioned study, there was a rumor online that ENTJ (Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging) must be the wealthiest type of all 16 Briggs Myers’ personality types, but there was no scientifically valid proof that that’s the case. Truity research showed that, indeed, ENTJs are some of the highest earners, but there is one personality type that outearns even ENTJ — ESTJ (Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging).
According to Truity, ESTJs make an average of $77K per year while ENTJs come close second with an average of $76K per year. These numbers include both men and women, but gender-specific charts look even more interesting.
It’s not a secret that overall men tend to earn more than women, but, as it turns out, there are three personality types where women tend to make even more money than men of the same type: ENTJ, INTP and INFJ. INTP and INFJ aren’t particularly high earners, but the fact that female ENTJs outearn already high-earning male ENTJs is remarkable. This suggests that at least in some cases personality is even more important factor than gender when it comes to income.
Highest earners overall (men and women):
- ESTJ ($77K per year)
- ENTJ ($76K per year)
Highest earners (men):
- ESTJ ($95K per year)
- ESFJ ($76K per year)
- ENTJ ($73K per year)
Highest earners (women):
- ENTJ ($80K per year)
- ESTJ ($68K per year)
Highest earners of all:
- men ESTJ ($95K per year)
- women ENTJ ($80K per year)
So what do they do to earn so much?
First and foremost, both ESTJ and ENTJ seem to genuinely enjoy work. According to Truity, not only these two types appeared to be the highest earners, but they were also the most satisfied with their jobs.
Second, with only one letter difference — S in ESTJ and N in ENTJ — both types have a lot in common. They both are
- and judging.
Extroversion seems to help people make more money as almost all types of extroverts reported higher average income than introverts. That makes sense: Extroversion makes it so much easier to sell, network and supervise. In the aforementioned study (that also offers a lot of other interesting data), ENTJ and ESTJ tended to supervise or manage a lot more people at work than any other type. In this regard, ENTJ (7.33 average people managed) is a little ahead of ESTJ (5.49 average people managed). This means that ENTJ and ESTJ tend to take on managerial positions.
Third, these two types were significantly less likely to be a stay-at-home parents, unemployed or retired. Both require stimulation from the external world and probably don’t find idleness or staying home with children stimulating enough to their tastes.
Fourth, both types are not particularly agreeable. They are not “Feelers” and are likely to prioritize their own interests over others’ interests, which will usually result in more income.
Last, they both make use of their Judging style (J). According to this study, Judging is the most strongly correlated trait to income and career achievement. For every Perceiving type (P) in this study its corresponding Judging type (J) earned more, e.g, ISTJ earned more than ISTP, ENFJ earned more than ENFP and so on. People with preference for judging (J) are better at making plans and following through than those with preference for perceiving (P) who prefer to wait for inspiration and don’t like schedules.
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More on the 16 personality types: