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Study: Dominating women earn more than 'nicer' colleagues

July 14, 2009 16:43 IST

It does not pay women to be nice in the workplace, for a new study has revealed that those who adopt a masculine approach in the office earn more than their "nicer" female colleagues.

Researchers in Germany have found that "alpha females" earn four per cent more than their "passive" co-workers, while "neurotic" women -- those deemed to be anxious -- can suffer a drop in salary of three per cent, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

At the same time, the study has found "conscientious" women who display self-control and persistence in the office generally earn five per cent more than their lazier colleagues. But although the research found that personality traits are just as important as intelligence in determining a woman's salary, it also revealed that they barely affect a man's earning potential.

Lead researcher Guido Heineck of the Institute for Employment Research in Nuremberg, Germany, said it showed that personality traits such as 'agreeableness' were not beneficial in the workplace. "Personality traits can have the same impact on earnings as intelligence. Our statistics show that being nice does not pay for women, whereas working hard does. This is probably, in part, because agreeable people are too passive in conflict situations and are poorer wage negotiators.

"Traditionally, women are more passive and likeable at work. This shows that to be successful in the workplace, women have to adapt to more alpha male-like behaviour," he said.

The researchers have based their findings on an analysis of a psychometric test, involving some 5,603 men and women aged 20 to 60 who took the test which highlighted traits openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

It found that alpha females earned on average four per cent more than their quieter coworkers -- or 40,000 pounds over a lifetime based on a 40-year career with an annual wage of 25,000 pounds. Although there was a link between "neuroticism" and lower earnings for women, there to be no effect for men. But, males who proved themselves agreeable in the workplace did suffer a slight dip in salary

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