A recent study has highlighted a significant shift in the labor market, showing that extroversion is now more highly valued than ever before. According to the research, which has been published in the Journal of Labor Economics, extroverted individuals, particularly men, have seen improved job prospects and higher earnings since the early 2000s.

The study, titled "Evolving Returns to Personality," was conducted by Ramin Izadi, a Senior Researcher at VATT Institute for Economic Research,

and Joonas Tuhkuri, an Associate Professor at Stockholm University and Senior Fellow Researcher at ETLA Economic Research. The findings indicate that while traditional qualities like conscientiousness and intelligence remain important, the labor market now also places a premium on sociability, activity, and energy.

"Success in the workplace today can be achieved through multiple paths," Izadi explains. "Conscientiousness and education are still valued, but there's a new emphasis on extroversion, including sociability, activity, and energy."

Improved Employment and Earnings for Extroverts

The research found that extroverted men are now more employable and better earners than before. Historically, extroversion was negatively correlated with academic performance and, consequently, lower employment and earnings prospects. However, the study shows that this is no longer the case. Extroverted individuals are finding more job opportunities and achieving good earnings, regardless of their educational background.

This shift can be partly attributed to the rise of service-oriented jobs and roles that require strong teamwork skills. "Many new jobs have emerged that value extroverted traits, although the root cause of this shift remains an open question," says Izadi.

Comprehensive Study of Finnish Conscripts

The study analyzed data from 480,000 Finnish conscripts born between 1962 and 1979. During their military service, these individuals took cognitive and personality tests. The researchers then matched this data with tax and education records from 2001 to 2015, when the conscripts were aged 36 to 39, to track their income, employment, and educational outcomes.

"A significant part of the positive impact of extroversion came from employment," notes Tuhkuri. "Employment for extroverted individuals grew more strongly compared to conscientious ones, indicating a shift in the market value of certain traits over time."

Figure (an extract from the study): Differential Evolution of Skill Premia for Extraversion and Conscientiousness. Change in the value placed on intelligence (Cognitive), Conscientiousness and Extraversion.

Two Labor Market Paths

Izadi and Tuhkuri’s study identifies two distinct labor market paths linked to personality traits that emerge early in life. Extroverts, despite generally having lower levels of education, tend to have longer work experience and occupy more practical roles. Their employment and incomes have seen notable increases, marking a new trend.

On the other hand, cognitive ability and conscientiousness continue to predict higher education levels and placement in highly skilled, well-paid jobs. While these traits remain stable in their importance, the value placed on intelligence has slightly declined.

The findings, based on a sample that represents about 80% of men in their age group, highlight a changing landscape in the labor market where personality traits like extroversion are becoming increasingly important for career success. However, the results may not be directly applicable to women, as the study exclusively surveyed male conscripts.