by Vlad Ungureanu
Key takeaways from this article!
Personality has a high degree of consistency across all countries, with some exceptions; for example, Canadians score lower in Extroversion, while people in Africa score lower in Openness to Experience.
Job preferences vary based on personality, directly related to the traits of each personality dimension. For example, Conscientious people prefer technical jobs, while Agreeable people prefer health care and teaching.
Income is strongly correlated with personality. For example, people high in Agreeableness are less likely to be assertive when negotiating their salaries and as a result they have lower income.
Psychographics and Other Demographic Segments
The personalities most prone to advertising, brand loyalty, purchase loyalty, social media use, positive response to social media ads and tend to see shopping as hedonistic are Extroverts and people Open to Experiences. However, people displaying high score for Extroversion and Openness to Experience can be found primarily in Northern America and Western Europe.
Unfortunately for marketing specialists, these two regions (and also Oceania and Southern Europe) also have the highest scores in Conscientiousness, which have the lowest use of social network, lowest response to digital ads and perceive shopping as mostly utilitarian. To follow the scoring average trend, Northern America and Western Europe are also the highest in neuroticism. The South and South Est Asia score lowest in Agreeableness, while Africa scores lowest in Openness to Experience.
The distribution of personality traits also varies based on countries. For example, Canadians are less likely to be Extroverts and Open to Experience and are more likely to be Agreeable, Conscientious and Neurotic. In contrast, in Switzerland, people tend to be less Agreeable and Conscientious and more likely to be Extroverts, Open to experience and Neurotic.
An interesting observation is that regardless of the distribution of personality traits, neuroticism is moderately high in almost all countries and on all continents. Exceptions can be found in Croatia, Estonia, the Republic of Congo and Finland in which people have lower overall averages in Neuroticism.
The distribution of personalities also varies based on where people live. The closer a person lives compared to the metropolitan areas the less likely they are to be Agreeable and Conscientiousness, while if they live in rural areas, they are more likely to be highly Agreeable. People living in urban areas score higher in Conscientiousness and Openness to experience, while people in rural areas also score lower in these two dimensions.
Adamant Links - Job Preferences
Personality traits are corelated to career preferences, specific fields of expertise and academic achievements. While all personalities can excel in attaining academic degrees, people scoring high in Conscientiousness are more likely to obtain a masters or doctorate degrees, while people scoring high in Neuroticism are the least likely to obtain any higher education degrees.
Conscientious people favour organized, planned and structured work and as such they tend to favour technical or engineering careers. People high in Conscientiousness and Extroversion prefer (and excel) in managerial positions. People high in Conscientiousness, but low in Agreeableness, can (and sometimes do) become strict, rigid and punishing teachers and professors.
People Open to Experiences favour jobs that require travel (like pilot, tour guide). Having a low need for security they sometimes become entrepreneurs. Their interests towards the arts and aesthetics make people high in Openness to Experience to follow carriers as writers, musicians or painters.
People that score high in Agreeableness favour jobs in education (teacher, professor), health care (nurse) or that require directly working with people (HR, recruiting, people management). People who score low in Agreeableness, avoid human related careers and prefer decision making positions.
A high score in Extroversion is also related to socially engaging careers like public speaker, coaching, TV presenter and almost anything related to sales or entertainment. People high in Extroversion and Openness to Experience may prefer research/scientific careers or technical fields of activity. They are willing to experiment and invest time to achieve significant results and are more resilient to failure.
Neuroticism is more difficult to define in terms of career preferences. People with higher emotional stability (implicitly low scores in Neuroticism) favour high pressure jobs (counsellor, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, hostage negotiator). When paired with higher score in Conscientiousness, people with high score in Neuroticism tend to become highly competitive managers. Paired with Extroversion, people high in Neuroticism tend to be more creative and pursue artistic careers. People with lower emotional stability (high score in Neuroticism) tend to prefer low responsibility or low engagement careers where the possibility to make a significant mistake is limited or non-existent.
Income market segmentation is extremely relevant for any marketing campaigns, considering as customer buying power (after-tax money) is directly proportional with income; the bigger the income, the bigger the buying power. For example, the average salary of a medical doctor in the USA is $294,000/year (across all specialities; as of 2018). Considering this amount, you can clearly market luxury cars to medical doctors. Construction workers, which earn around $40,000/year would find it difficult to purchase an average luxury car (estimated at around $100,000).
As you might expect from this series of articles, personality is strongly connected with income. People scoring higher in Conscientiousness and Extroversion have a 7% higher income then other people. This difference increases if the person has a postgraduate degree to about 18% higher income. However, Conscientiousness alone, while it is a clear indicator of higher job performance, is not significantly related to higher wages.
It may be difficult to accept that people scoring high at Agreeableness (trust, altruism, sincerity) have lower wages (with approximately 2% to 6%), compared to people with the same education and on similar positions but that score lower on this dimension. The main reason for this decrease is that Agreeable people are less aggressive or decisive when negotiating their salaries or when highlighting their contribution and their results.
People high in Neuroticism, but with a high education suffer no salary penalty as opposed to people with high Neuroticism but with a lower education which earn 6% less.
Finally, people Open to Experience earn about 9% more than other people with the same education and a similar position, but that have higher scores in other dimensions of the Big Five/OCEAN model.
- "The Geographic Distribution of Big Five Personality Traits: Patterns and Profiles of Human Self-Description Across 56 Nations", David Schmitt, Jüri Allik, Robert R. McCrae, Veronica Benet, 2007
- "Personality and Job Performance: The Big Five Revisited",Gregory M. Hurtz and John J. Donovan, 2000
- "Big Five personality traits and job satisfaction: Evidence from a national sample", Hong Bui, 2017
- "The Five-Factor Model of Personality and Career Success", E.Seibert and Maria L.Kraimer, 2001
- "Relationship between Your Personality and Your Salary Level", Olga Verkhohlyad, 2019
- "Personality, IQ, and Lifetime Earnings", Miriam Gensowski, 2014
In our next article, get a detailed look at psychographic and individual preferences:
Psychographics and Individual Preferences