The survey indicates that men who measured below average levels of ‘agreeableness’ earned approximately 18 percent more than their friendlier male counterparts, while less agreeable women earned around 5 percent more than their more affable female colleagues.

The study, which looked at data collected over approximately 20 years and is entitled “Do nice guys – and gals – really finish last?”, was carried out by the University of Notre Dame and by the University of Western Ontario.

Derek Irvine, has made the following comments:

“This is certainly a headline grabbing survey: the meaner you are, the more you’re likely to earn. What is particularly worrying about these findings is that they suggest organisations are actively rewarding bad corporate behaviour, or disagreeableness, rather than trying to instil more positive values. Every organisation has a series of values which it expects its staff to align with and it’s highly unlikely that rudeness falls into that category. Why, therefore, are organisations choosing to reward these employees over others?

“The problem here is that in the majority of cases individual managers are being left with the responsibility of rewarding employees and it seems that those who shout the loudest win. What’s needed within organisations today is a strategic employee recognition programme which aligns rewards with corporate values. This would ensure that those employees who are exhibiting the most positive behaviours will be recognised and rewarded.”