According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, authors Beth Livingston, Timothy Judge and Charlice Hurst surveyed how being nice at work affects your success, your pay check and how the effects of being nice differ for men and women.
Research shows that agreeable employees make significantly less money than their counterparts who tend to disagree more - 18% higher pay for men who disagree more at work and 5% higher pay for women who disagree more at work, feeding the theory that the agreeable employees earn less money, and are less aggressive in negotiating starting salaries. Yet there is clear evidence that agreeableness is something the employers value. Employers want agreeable employees even if they are not better job performers compared to disagreeable employees for the reason that agreeable employees are more pleasant to be around.
So, where does that leave you? Depending on where you already fall in that spectrum of agreeableness, do you need to alter your current work style? What will the repercussions be if you go from being “Mr. Agreeable” to being “Mr. Disagreeable”? If you fall into the underpaid-and-overly-agreeable-work-ethic group, you need to start making small changes to remedy your situation. You can’t just jump sides all at once, but you also don’t want to sit on the sidelines and get paid less for agreeing to do more work.
Another thing to consider is where you work… different companies breed different cultures and reward different attributes. You may work for a company whose culture rewards your agreeableness and all the world is right. For those of us who are not “living the dream” and getting paid for what we do, the time is now to start making changes and getting a better balance between being agreeable and being paid fairly.