We’ve all heard the rants about how assertive women in the workplace (especially if they are “the boss”) are often referred to in a rather derogatory way, whilst men who display the same behavior are admired. But, apparently, being a b**** in the workplace pays off. The Daily Mail reports that a new study at the Institute for Employment Research in Nuremberg, Germany, finds that nice women are paid 4% less than their more assertive female counterparts:
Some 5,603 men and women aged 20 to 60 were asked to take a psychometric test called the Five Factor Personality Inventory, which highlighted five basic personality traits – openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
It found that alpha females earned on average 4 per cent more than their quieter coworkers – or £40,000 over a lifetime based on a 40-year career with an annual wage of £25,000.
The study found that for men, agreeableness does result in a slight dip in pay, but nothing like the disparity that women see for being more agreeable. The study’s authors chalk it up to the fact that agreeable people stink at salary negotiations, and may not be assertive in getting higher wages upon being hired, and in getting raises later on. For women, this is exacerbated by social traditions that make them “more passive and likeable at work” — and their desire not to rock the boat by asking for more money.
It’s an interesting thought. However, I doubt that one needs to be more than assertive and confident — no matter your gender — to get paid a little more (well, once this recession ends). In order to get a raise, it is important to show that you are willing to work hard, do quality work and to know what you want.
What do you think? Are nice people less likely to earn more?
Image source: Jersyko via Wikimedia Commons