Nice Guys (And Gals) Do Finish Last…At Work

Nice guys not only finish last, they get paid less, a new study shows.

Men who gave themselves a below-average “niceness” score in a Cornell study earned on average 18 percent more than their nicer colleagues, reports Human Resource Executive Online.

The effect was less noticable for disagreeable women, though mean girls still earned 5 percent more than nicer ladies.

Part of the culprit: As usual, nicer guys (and gals) are less likely to negotiate for raises or a higher starting salary.

The study authors also asked hundreds of undergraduates to pretend to be hiring managers, reading descriptions of candidates for a managerial position.

One was described as “highly agreeable” while the other was self-absorbed.

“Extremely strong evidence came back that the ‘arrogant’ man was seen as much more management type than the agreeable one,” study co-author Beth A. Livingston said.

So how does one deal with this problem? Nobody wants to become the office jerk just to make a bit more money (even if the average discrepancy for men was more than $9,000). But it stings to know that that jerk is not only a jerk, but is making more than you.

The good news: The jerks who are making more money aren’t necessarily any more happy…in fact, they may be less happy than the nicer folks making less. So take that!

Publish date: September 13, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT