Being Nice At Work Might Impact How Much You Get Paid

Our lovely parents did such a wonderful job with us. They taught us to open the door for strangers, help older ladies across the street, bake cupcakes for a colleagues birthday and compliment an outfit here and there. You know, the basics of being a nice, agreeable human being.

Well, in a devastating turn of events, it turns out that being a nice, agreeable human being could be the thing robbing you of some cold hard cash. Thanks a lot, Mum.

A new study released in The European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology found that the nicer and more agreeable you are at work, the less you’ll be paid. The researchers collected their data by examining the salary, promotion history, tenure and education of male and female employees from a Dutch electronics company. The results indicated that employees who were more dominant and asserted themselves at work were more likely to be given pay rises and promotions.



The results were reflected in both male and female participants. However, the nice people who were impacted by lesser pay skewed heavily towards females. One of the researchers Prof. Sharon Toker said that the findings indicated that female employees are being limited by the expectations of their gender, “Some professional women are still afraid to exhibit a trait that’s incongruent with presumed notions of female character. The result is financial retribution.”

“We found that women aren’t aware that more agreeable women are being punished for being nice,” said another researcher, Dr. Michal Biron. “The nice women we polled in our study even believed they were earning more than they deserved.”

So not only were women being too nice to get paid what they deserved, they felt they had too much pay in the first place. That’s certainly disheartening news.

However, the researchers said that if a females did show traits of dominance and assertiveness, it would benefit them and they would end up earning more than their non-dominant counterparts. So stepping outside gender norms will actually help, not hinder, a female’s career.

This just proves that everyone, male and female, should take a leaf out of the Kelly Kapoor handbook:

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Lead image courtesy of NBC.

Josephine is a writer from western Sydney who likes to blatantly lie on her bios. She played the youngest sister in 80s sitcom Family Ties and looks fantastic running with a backpack on.