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Could having a conscientious partner increase your earning potential?

If you knew that a partner who had certain personality traits and attributes would increase your chances of professional success, would that influence how you date and choose a partner?

According to research, there is one aspect of a person that could affect your earning potential and it’s called being conscientious.

What does being conscientious even mean? If we take a cue from our school report cards, it could mean anything from sitting up straight and paying attention to actively participating in the task at hand.

A group from Washington University studied a group of Australian couples for their research and all the information pointed at an interesting conclusion: The more conscientious your other half is, the more you could potentially earn at work.

The study found that a person’s rate of success at work was linked to the characteristics displayed by their partners. So if a partner was conscientious — punctual, careful, diligent and dedicated — that would likely rub off on you or at least influence you and your lifestyle in some way and impact your work. Whereas if your partner was not conscientious, but rather a flaky, risk-taker with no goals and no sense of time, then that, too, would probably impact your lifestyle and work outcomes.

That could explain a whole lot of work-life balance issues during my 20s. Now I see it so clearly.

Researchers even gave an amount of how much more people with conscientious partners could expect to earn over their flaky-partnered counterparts — $4,000 if their partner is pretty conscientious or $8,000 if their partner is super conscientious.

The study came to this surprising conclusion by comparing a person’s work life — including job satisfaction, income and likelihood of promotion — with five of their partner’s characteristics and traits: extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness and openness.

And according to the Harvard Business Review, people with conscientious partners (either male or female) are 50 per cent more likely to get a promotion than those who have partners who are extremely unconscientious.

So, what now? Should we all go out and make sure we keep in mind conscientiousness when looking for a mate? Well, the chances are that we’re already doing that, subconsciously.

Of course, we probably don’t verbalise that being conscientious is a trait we’re after when looking for a mate, but things like support, being goal-focused and careful are things people generally look for in their partners anyway. And stability and security at home often result in stability at work, too.

What do you think? Can your relationships impact your success at work? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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