What Probably Comes to Mind when You Think “Earning Potential”

The above is pretty obvious for the most part. Education, skills, and experience can definitely improve or hinder your income.

This isn’t to say that you can’t earn a 6 figure income with a high school degree and a complete lack of experience; plenty of people have become successful business owners with little more in their pocket aside from ambition. However, experience and skills definitely help impact your earnings.

Imagine starting your own marketing business after working in the industry for 7 years. You’ve worked for a great agency and they’ve taught you a lot. Now it’s time to branch out and start your own marketing company. You’re going to have a leg up over those who have no experience in marketing. And chances are, your income is going to reflect that. Simple enough, right?

Your Personality Type and Income

“The ENTJ personality type is nicknamed the “Chief” and belongs to the NT Intellectual temperament. ENTJs are natural and decisive leaders. They are analytical, efficient and hardworking. They live in the world of ideas and have a great ability to debate.”

“The INFP personality type is creative, quirky, humane, and individualistic. Like the INFJ, INFPs want to understand who they are and their purpose in the world. Curious and restless, they enjoy entertaining new ideas and possibilities. … INFPs are among the most open-minded (and open-hearted) of the personality types.”

Did you know that your personality type can actually affect your income? I know I had a pretty basic idea before looking deeper into this but I didn’t realize just how much your Myers-Briggs personality type affects things. I mean it’s pretty obvious that if you’re a very non-social, rude person by nature you’re probably not going to make it in a sales or person to person career. In other words, you wouldn’t really make much as a car salesman! But if your’e a very talkative, open person then you’re definitely got a leg up in those regards.

But let’s go a little deeper than surface value traits like social/non-social.

The Myers-Briggs personality test has a tendency to come off as another one of the “Buzzfeed What Kind of Cheese Are You” quizzes, but with a little more foundation. Others take it seriously, but many (including myself) never realized how much it affects things in your life; especially your income.

There are four basic personality dimensions that make up the Myers-Briggs: and they’re defined using opposing traits:

  • Extraversion vs. Introversion: Extroverts are social butterflies and benefit from being in groups. Introverts enjoy spending time alone and benefit from this.
  • Sensing vs. Intuition: Sensors are interested in the “facts” and concrete information; in other words, something that can be proved. Intuitive types like to use their imagination as well as “gut instinct” or “intuition” to gather and interpret info.
  • Thinking vs. Feeling: Thinkers are prone to making rational decisions that are based entirely or largely on logic. Feelers on the other hand make empathetic decisions keeping the needs of others in mind.
  • Judging vs. Perceiving: Judging personality types like structure and will organize their life in this manner. Perceiving types tend to be more spontaneous and flexible. Go with the flow so to speak.

You can be really any combination of the 4. You’re one from each section, making up 4 in total. For example, someone who aligns with extraversion, sensing, thinking, and judging would be described as an ESTJ type. 

So How does this Affect Your Income?

72,331 people were surveyed to pull the information in this graph. Keep in mind these are averages. You can be an INTJ and far exceed this graph’s predictions. Graph courtesy of Truity.

Let’s consider personality types and how you might react at work. Let’s pretend that you’ve just finished giving a big presentation at work. You’ve poured a lot of time, effort, and heart into this presentation. After you’ve delivered it, an outspoken coworker challenges your ideas. How do you react?

  • A. Engage the coworker in a friendly debate about the merits of both your argument and theirs.
  • B. Avoid the conflict altogether by agreeing or changing the subject?

It might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but how you approach these types of situations can actually have a direct impact on how much you earn. And how you approach these situations will largely depend on your Myers-Briggs personality.

Avoiding the conflict by agreeing or changing the subject might seem like a good way to avoid unnecessary confrontation, but it can put out the wrong impression to your both your boss and coworkers. You may look like a “pushover” or perhaps they’ll assume that you don’t have enough evidence to support your claims. If you take charge and lead a friendly debate, it shows that you have a solid foundation for your argument.

Looking at the personality types, you can also start to see patterns/weaknesses. Judging personality types are rigid and unwilling to move for the most part. They like and crave structure. If something comes along that challenges that, they might dig their heels in. And if you’re digging your heels in with a customer or boss, things probably won’t sway in your favor.

However, if this trait is paired with others (such as the ENFJ personality), then you’ve got one of the top earners. The judging personality type suddenly begins a benefit rather than a hindrance.

Your Myers-Briggs Personality type can also affect your earnings over time.

As implied by the graphic, some start off very strong but taper off later in life. Others start off really low (INTJ) but grow over time.

So for example if you’re an ENTP in your twenties, don’t be discouraged if your income isn’t where you want it to be. This personality type sees a big boost in its thirties and forties.

Average Income based on Personality

Having certain personality preferences can translate to a big boost in your earnings.

As you can see, Extraverts, Thinkers, and Judges score quite a bit higher than their counterparts. Sensors and Intuitives are pretty equal with Sensors pulling ahead just slightly in income.

Desirable Personality Facets

Personality facets that correlate to higher income.

Besides your Myers-Briggs Personality type, there are other facets of your personality that are equally important to your income.

  • Ambitious- Ambition is an obvious one. You won’t achieve much if you don’t have drive.
  • Challenging- Not everyone wants a “yes man” in their business. Challenging ideas and coming up with new approaches will get you far. Not running from conflict also looks good on paper.
  • Expressive- Those that are quick to speak, share their thoughts, and opinions will do good in a leadership position. You’ll also do well under someone and be able to climb the ladder to success quickly.
  • Objective- Making rational decisions as opposed to ones based on emotions is another important personality facet to have.
  • Energetic- Keeping busy and having a high energy will get you places
  • Conceptual– You’re interested in understanding the bigger picture.
  • Prominent– Valuing social status and taking care of your online presence can correlate to higher income.

Maximizing Your Potential

With the information at hand, you might be worried that if you’re an introvert that you are doomed to the world of lower salaries. Well, this isn’t the case. Personality does play an important role, many other factors contribute to income:

  • Level of education
  • Years of experience
  • Local job market
  • Type of industry
  • The particular career

Not only that, anyone can work on the two specific personality traits most aligned with higher incomes: set ambitious goals, and face conflict head-on to ensure your voice is heard.

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