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Occupation-personality fit is associated with higher employee engagement and happiness

McCarthy, Paul X. and Kern, Margaret L. and Gong, Xian and Parker, Michael and Rizoiu, Marian-Andrei (2022): Occupation-personality fit is associated with higher employee engagement and happiness.

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Using large scale data sets about Australians (n=99,897) active on social media in a variety of occupations (n=624) across all industries, we used a variety of linguistic analysis techniques to infer user’s happiness, engagement and Big5 personality traits across 30 dimensions, as well as their occupational-personality fit when compared to others in the same role.

We found that: (a) when roles are clustered by the personality traits of those in them there appears to be eight groups or ‘tribes’ made up of roles with similar personality trait combinations; (b) happiness, as measured by inferred current happiness, is positively correlated with occupation-personality fit and; (c) engagement is significantly correlated with occupation-personality fit and can explain over 25% of the variance in engagement in a sample of 18k people across 624 roles.

These findings show that occupation and personality fit play a material and significant role in employee engagement, which in turn is known to have many firm-level and economy-wide outcomes.

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