The beauty of any workplace environment is often a wide range of personality types and work styles. But according to recent research, some personality traits fare better than others when it comes to getting a promotion.
Specifically, extroverted people are more likely to quickly ascend the career ladder, and neurotic people are more likely to stay exactly where they are. A report published by job search website Joblist last month surveyed 1,011 U.S. workers about their personalities and work experiences, and found that 25% of those surveyed with outgoing personalities received promotions last year — the highest percentage of any personality group studied.
On the flip side, 30% of participants with high levels of neuroticism — people who may get easily overwhelmed and express emotions like anger, anxiety, self‐consciousness or irritability at work — said they’d never received a promotion. That was similarly the highest percentage of any personality group studied.
Survey respondents were asked to evaluate themselves on the “big five” personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Those traits come from the Five-Factor Model, which is widely used among psychologists today. The report noted that its findings do have “certain limitations,” because the data is based on participants’ self-reporting.
Still, many of its takeaways are intriguing. For example, your personality — or, at least, your own assessment of your personality — could impact your annual salary. Those who self-identified as conscientious were the most likely to make at least $75,000 per year, while “highly neurotic people” were most likely to earn $34,999 or less annually.
Neurotic people were also least likely to hold senior or executive positions. “This could be because this personality trait is associated with a higher susceptibility to negative emotions, irritability, and overall dissatisfaction — making those defined by it unlikely to make the best leaders,” the report’s authors wrote.
The survey even noted high correlations between personality traits and fulfilling career choices: 83% of respondents who scored themselves highly in agreeableness said their job aligned with their intended career path, while 70% of neurotic people said their job didn’t.
Perhaps, then, it’s unsurprising that the neurotic group included the most people who’d quit at least one job in the prior two years, and the most people who intended to search for a new job in the coming three to six months. “Highly neurotic individuals generally do well in environments that offer security, safety, and an outlet for self-expression,” the report noted, suggesting fields like “writing, art and design” as ideal fits.
High scores in other personality traits also signified potential workplace pitfalls: People who self-identified as very open, for example, were “prone to poor job satisfaction and issues with work-life balance and mental health due to their tendency to have higher levels of emotional sensitivity than other personality types,” the report’s authors wrote.
The report defined openness as “creative, imaginative and adventurous,” noting that people with high levels of that personality trait often have a “propensity to make decisions based on gut feeling over reason.”