While your interests can help direct you to the industry of your choice, it’s your personality type that could define how well you’ll perform—and get paid. When we say “personality type,” we mean traits like ambition, empathy, rationality, and expression. Luckily, there’s a well-known personality framework that anyone can understand – the Myers-Briggs personality test (MBTI).
The MBTI considers four main personality dimensions: extraversion versus introversion, sensing versus intuition, thinking versus feeling, and judging versus perceiving. Then, it classifies the different combinations into 16 personalities. The MBTI personality test is a great way to understand yourself better and even find out the positions and careers you’ll thrive in.
To learn more about personality types at work, we approached career coach Han Kok Kwang. The author of the bestselling career title No Job? No Sweat! believes introverts and extroverts can excel anywhere depending on the company culture, colleagues, and leadership. When your personality type is reciprocated, then there’s a higher change of growth.
“People like people who are like them. Extroverted bosses usually prefer extroverted staff, and vice versa if all things remain equal,” said the career coach. “To put it simply, extroverts talk to think, introverts think to talk. To do well, pick an environment that fits your profile and work hard!”
Extroverts versus Introverts
In 2015, a U.S. study of the 16 personality types found that introverts tend to earn less, with five introvert personalities taking up the bottom seven in terms of average yearly income. The researchers of this particular study from the career guidance platform Truity deduced that this might be because introvert personalities are less likely to take on managerial responsibilities and positions.
Fast forward to 2019 and Truity’s initial findings still held; extrovert personalities tend to earn higher than introvert personalities. Take a look at some of the most famous extroverts in the world – Steve Jobs (ENTJ), Tom Hanks (ENTP), Barack Obama (ENFJ), Robert Downey Jr. (ENFP), John Rockefeller (ESTJ), Taylor Swift (ESFJ), Madonna (ESTP), and Adele (ESFP).
That’s not to say introverts can’t get paid well—on the contrary, plenty of introverts in the world are wildly successful. Just look at Michele Obama (INTJ), Bill Gates (INTP), Nelson Mandela (INFJ), Tom Hiddleston (INFP), Angela Merkel (ISTJ), Beyonce (ISFJ), Michael Jordan (ISTP), and Michael Jackson (ISFP). But in general, the extroverts tend to be paid better in the workplace.
Of course, it seems unfair to assume that all introverted people will need to project an extroverted personality to move forward with their careers. Some introvert personalities are outliers of the trend: ISTJs earned an average of US$49,994 per year, while INTJs earned US$46,986.
Leveraging Other Personality Facets
While extroverted people might get paid more than introverted people, it’s very simplistic to assume that extroversion and introversion are the only facets of our personality. The study also found that certain personality preferences—meaning the trait that is most dominant in you—can also correlate with higher income.
In terms of personality preferences, extroverts, thinkers, and judgers tend to score higher salaries. In terms of average salaries, thinkers topped the list with US$50,210, followed by: extroverts with US$50,034, judgers with US$48,625, and sensors with US$46,843. At the bottom, four were intuitives with US$44,933, feelers with US$41,799, perceivers with US$41,722, and introverts with US$40,687.
If you are an introvert, the data shows that it might benefit your career if introversion was not your dominating personality type. Your personality traits can determine how you respond to a situation. If you’re engaged with a problem at work, will you find an intelligent way to solve it like a thinker, engage in a friendly debate to find a solution like an extrovert, or shy away from all conflict and problems like an introvert? The right answer here is clear, as is the reason why certain personality types are paid higher in the workplace.
As we mentioned before, the 16 personalities are given their names based on four main personality traits, but you can further break these down into distinct facets of each personality. From these multiple facets, Truity was able to find the personality facets that correlate most strongly with higher income.
The eight facets that yielded the highest results, from low to high, were: rationality (thinking versus feeling), prominence (extroversion versus introversion), conceptualizing (sensing versus intuition), energy (extroversion versus introversion), objectivity (thinking versus feeling), expressiveness (extroversion versus introversion), challenging nature (thinking versus feeling), and ambition (perceiving versus judging).
Three extroverted personality facets are in the top 8, but the facet that is the greatest boost in income is filed under perceiving versus judging—ambition. According to the data, the higher your ambition, the more you can achieve. Ambition is not connected to extraversion or introversion at all as it is not reflected in the image you present to the world. Ambition is a purely internal drive to achieve high goals, proving once more that you can achieve anything—whether it’s a promotion or a high salary—if you just put all of your energy into it.
Finding the Right Fit
MBTI tests, personality types ABCD tests, PSI tests, and all those other personality tests are meant to give you a higher understanding of who you are and what you’re good at. On the surface, it might seem like the 16 Personalities tests are meant to categorize the type of people out there, but it’s more about having a clearer vision of yourself. This way, you’ll know how to grow, thrive, and excel.
Extroverts might earn more than introverts based on previous data. However, it doesn’t new that introverts can’t earn more. It’s just a matter of making sure you hone your other personality traits that are suited for your workplace.
Regardless of your personality type, Coach Han has a three-point checklist on how to do well anywhere: first, focus on your performance and deliver on your promise. Second, appreciate people by getting along with everyone and being visible, especially to the bosses. And third, be market-relevant, not just organization-relevant.
In the end, the key is to find the right field and position where your talents and personality traits are the right fit. Careers that require lots of teamwork and collaboration might be where extroverts will thrive, but jobs that let you work on your own to solve complex problems might be the best place for introverts to grow.
The most crucial factor? Having the ambition to succeed.
Another way you can increase your income is to gain more years of experience and a higher level of education. JobStreet offers plenty of courses for you to upskill through FutureLearn. You can also research more into your desired career path as well as the type of industry you wish to enter. Check out JobStreet’s job board to find the best fit for you.
Leverage your strengths to find the position that’s right for you. For more career advice, check out JobStreet’s Career Resources.