The new pay gap: mean girls and nice guys

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There have been a range of surveys showing that nice guys do indeed finish behind their meaner colleagues, but a US study has now found that they certainly don’t finish last – that honour belongs to the nice girls in the office.

A study from the Academy of Management in San Antonio found that “disagreeable” workers had a higher income than their friendly co-workers, however this applies more to men than women.

The male jerk was likely to earn more than $9,000 extra per year compared to his nice male colleague. Yet, the  meaner women  earn just $1,828 more than their kinder female compatriots. The friendly men still made more each year than their mean female colleagues.

“Even the nice guys seem to be making out quite well relative to either agreeable or disagreeable women,” the study said. “Thus, exhortations for women not to be nice might be overblown. Nice girls might not get rich, but 'mean' girls do not do much better. Even controlling for human capital, marital status, and occupation, highly disagreeable women do not earn as much as highly agreeable men.”

The bigger gap could also be thanks to societal norms rewarding men for expected masculine behaviours such as showing aggression, co-author Beth Livingston of Cornell University said.

"Disagreeable men reap a double benefit," the professors wrote. "Their disagreeableness helps them better translate their human capital into earnings advantage, and the same behavior conforms to expectations of 'masculine' behavior."

By the same token agreeable men are disproportionately disadvantaged because their agreeableness "conflicts with social norms of masculinity."

 

 

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