'Highly extroverted' adults more likely to earn over £40,000 a year, says new research

Study shows 'a clear correlation between social and other skills and earnings'

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The Independent Online

Schools should teach self-confidence, according to the authors of new research showing that extroverts tend to earn higher salaries.

Adults who are assertive, talkative and enthusiastic – defined as “highly extroverted” – are 25 per cent more likely to earn over £40,000 a year, the study showed.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, children from wealthier backgrounds are more likely to be extroverts and display high levels of openness, including imagination and intellectual curiosity, according to the report by The Sutton Trust.

The Trust’s report, A Winning Personality, uses data from 150,000 participants of the BBC’s Big Personality Test and found a clear correlation between personality, social skills and earnings.

To address the imbalance schools should encourage self-confidence and cultivate a sense that students’ can improve their results with commitment, the authors said. They concluded: “With social skills becoming increasingly important in the labour market, efforts must be made to address these disadvantages.”

Other recommendations included teachers working to improve knowledge and awareness of professional careers among less advantaged students, as career aspirations are often driven by family knowledge and social contacts.

Schools and universities should also provide students with suitable training in employability skills and interview techniques.

The study also found that people who scored high for conscientiousness, meaning they had a preference for planning and order, had around a 20 per cent higher chance of having a better paid job. 

The authors called for more robust research to be carried out to find out the best ways to instil positive personality traits in young people.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) charity is currently running randomised controlled trials of six different projects to find the best ways to instil character traits like grit, self-confidence and motivation in pupils.

Sir Peter Lampl (corr), Chairman of the Sutton Trust, which is dedicated to improving social mobility through education, , said: “Our research shows that there is a clear correlation between social and other skills and earnings. We must therefore build the career aspirations of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and foster the more intangible qualities that they need to succeed and which are not taught in the curriculum such as confidence, aspiration, resilience and creativity.”