Who Earns More and Why? A Multiple Mediation Model from Personality to Salary
- First Online:
- 1.9k Downloads
The purpose of this study was to investigate multiple indirect Big Five personality influences on professionals’ annual salary while considering relevant mediators. These are the motivational variables of occupational self-efficacy and career-advancement goals, and the work status variable of contractual work hours. The motivational and work status variables were conceptualized as serial mediators (Big Five → occupational self-efficacy/career-advancement goals → contractual work hours → annual salary).
We realized a 4 year longitudinal survey study with 432 participants and three points of measurement. We assessed personality prior to the mediators and the mediators prior to annual salary.
Results showed that except for openness the other Big Five personality traits exerted indirect influences on annual salary. Career-advancement goals mediated influences of conscientiousness (+), extraversion (+), and agreeableness (−). Occupational self-efficacy mediated influences of neuroticism (–) and conscientiousness (+). Because the influence of occupational self-efficacy on annual salary was fully mediated by contractual work hours, indirect personality influences via occupational self-efficacy always included contractual work hours in a serial mediation.
These findings underline the importance of distal personality traits for career success. They give further insights into direct and indirect relationships between personality, goal content, self-efficacy beliefs, and an individual’s career progress.
Previous research predominantly investigated direct Big Five influences on salary, and it analyzed cross-sectional data. This study is one of the first to investigate multiple indirect Big Five influences on salary in a longitudinal design. The findings support process-oriented theories of personality influences on career outcomes.
KeywordsPersonality (Big Five) Occupational Self-efficacy Career goals Salary Longitudinal study
- Abele, A. E., & Spurk, D. (in press). The dual impact of gender and the influence of timing of parenthood on men’s and women’s career development. Longitudinal findings. International Journal of Behavioral Development.Google Scholar
- Abele, A., Stief, M., & Andrä, M. (2000). Zur ökonomischen Erfassung beruflicher Selbstwirksamkeitserwartungen: Neukonstruktion einer BSW-Skala [On the economic measurement of occupational self-efficacy expectations]. Zeitschrift für Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie, 44, 145–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Abele, A. E., Neunzert, H., & Tobies, R. (2004). Traumjob Mathematik! Berufswege von Frauen und Männern in der Mathematik [Career paths of women and men in mathematics]. Basel: Birkhäuser.Google Scholar
- Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
- Borkenau, P., & Ostendorf, F. (1991). Ein Fragebogen zur Erfassung fünf robuster Persönlichkeitsfaktoren [A questionnaire for assessing five robust personality factors]. Diagnostica, 37, 29–41.Google Scholar
- Chan, D. (2009). So why ask me? Are self-report data really that bad? In C. E. Lance & R. J. Vandenberg (Eds.), Statistical and methodological myths and urban legends: Doctrine, verity and fable in the organizational and social sciences (pp. 309–336). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
- Hall, D. T. (2002). Careers in and out of organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hogan, R. (1983). A socioanalytic theory of personality. In M. M. Page (Ed.), 1982 Nebraska symposium on motivation (pp. 55–89). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
- Hülsheger, U. R., Specht, E., & Spinath, F. M. (2006). Validität des BIP und des NEO-PI-R: Wie geeignet sind ein berufsbezogener und ein nicht explizit berufsbezogener Persönlichkeitstest zur Erklärung von Berufserfolg [BIP and NEO-PI-R: Predictive validity of an occupational vs. general personality test]. Zeitschrift für Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie, 50, 135–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hunter, J. E., Schmidt, F. L., & Jackson, G. B. (1982). Meta-analysis: Cumulating research findings across studies. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Johnson, J. W. (2003). Toward a better understanding of the relationship between personality and individual job performance. In M. R. Barrick & A. M. Ryan (Eds.), Personality at work: Reconsidering the role of personality in organizations (pp. 83–120). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Kanfer, R. (1990). Motivation theory and industrial and organizational psychology. In M. D. Dunnette & L. M. Hough (Eds.), Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, Vol. 1 (2nd ed., pp. 75–170). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
- Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Little, R. J. A., & Rubin, D. B. (2002). Statistical analysis with missing data (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A theory of goal setting and task performance. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Luzzo, D. A., & Ward, B. E. (1995). The relative contributions of self-efficacy and locus of control to the prediction of vocational congruence. Journal of Career Development, 21, 307–317.Google Scholar
- McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. (1996). Toward a new generation of personality theories: theoretical contexts for the Five-Factor Model. In J. S. Wiggins (Ed.), The five factor model of personality: Theoretical perspectives (pp. 51–87). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2007). Mplus user’s guide (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- Pajares, F. (1996). Self-efficacy beliefs in academic settings. Review of Educational Measurement, 66, 543–578.Google Scholar
- Super, D. E. (1970). Work values inventory. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
- Waldman, D. A., & Korbar, T. (2004). Student Assessment Center Performance in the Prediction of Early Career Success. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 3, 151–167.Google Scholar
- Wetzel, K., Soloshy, D. E., & Gallagher, D. G. (1990). The work attitudes of full-time and part-time registered nurses. Health Management Review, 15, 79–85.Google Scholar