Feature

Unpleasantness pays off big

A new study shows that nicer character traits, such as trust, straightforwardness, and compliance, are distinct disadvantages for men.

It’s official: “Nice guys really do finish last,” said Jonah Lehrer in Wired.com. A new study suggests that being agreeable translates into a significantly lower salary for men. Researchers repeatedly interviewed nearly 9,000 people who entered the labor market over the past decade and compared their incomes. They determined that nicer character traits, such as trust, straightforwardness, and compliance, are distinct disadvantages for men. On average, agreeable men “earned nearly $7,000 less than their disagreeable peers.” In a follow-up study, college students presented with hypothet­ical job candidates consistently fast-tracked the more disagreeable men for management. Your unpleasant colleagues’ edge appears to be a willingness to “fight for what they want,” especially pay raises. “Being agreeable won’t make you rich.”

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