The Extrovert Premium

Most people have taken a Myers-Briggs assessment: whether the professionally certified version or a free online session via a pop-up window. Many people proudly proclaim their ‘diagnosis’ on resumes, job profiles and even dating sites(!) What those mentioning the MB assessment might not realize is that they are subtly hinting and their earning potential.

Studies have demonstrated that on every comparable pairs of MB personality types e.g. INTP v. ENTP; INTJ v. ENTJ etc. the extroverts (those personality types starting with ‘E’) outearn their introvert peers. Extroversion is a person’s propensity to enjoy/ prefer social interaction with no link to competency or intelligence. However, extroverts are paid more, favored more for promotions, leadership roles, and new projects.

social-yinkaThis bias was recently brought home during a spate of interviews. Twice the feedback given focused on the candidate’s “shyness” or (perceived) “outgoing” character, even though the role was a typical office position. There are some reasons why introverts typically earn less; studies show they prefer roles that allow greater self-contemplation and tend to be less financially driven.

However, when we have two people going for the same position, especially within leadership— an extrovert and an introvert — the extrovert is more likely to get the job. We are inadvertently more willing to reward extroverts more, by virtue of nothing but their preference for social interactions. Extroverts aren’t in themselves better leaders, more skilled people or colleagues than introverts. But, we still pay them more.

It is this additional payment and extroversion bias that I call the “extrovert premium”. Perhaps we should be more mindful that we are hiring or promoting people for skills/ company contribution and not just their greater preference for being ‘chatty’.



Yinka Opaneye

Yinka Opaneye

Yinka Opaneye is a highly experienced people operations expert with practical knowledge in recruitment, onboarding, and general talent management, culture mapping and change and general Human Resources processes.

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