‘Disagreeable’ men who avoid housework are bigger earners, study finds

Married men who don’t help out around the house tend to earn higher salaries than husbands who do more domestic chores, according to a new study.

Researchers found that ‘disagreeable’ men are less helpful with domestic work, allowing them to devote greater resources to their jobs, which results in higher pay.

The team also discovered that disagreeableness – a personality trait characterised by a lack of empathy and greater self-interest – does not predict career success for men whose wives bunked off the housework.

Nor was it linked to higher salaries in single men who were "disagreeable".

The research was conducted by Dr Brittany Solomon, assistant professor of management and organisation at the University of Notre Dame in the United States, and colleagues.

The study, published in the journal Personnel Psychology, analysed disagreeableness traits and salaries of around 1,700 married couples.

Dr Solomon said: "Across two studies, we find evidence that disagreeable men tend to earn more money relative to their more agreeable male counterparts because they are more self-interested and less helpful to their wives at home, which allows for greater job involvement and, ultimately, higher pay.

"This effect is even stronger among disagreeable men with more traditional gender role attitudes and when their wives are highly conscientious, presumably because in these cases their wives take on more household management and more seamlessly carry out the responsibilities.”

Dr Solomon and her team say their findings shouldn’t necessarily conjure images of the now ’50s stereotype of a working husband returning to an immaculately clean home and a wife wearing pearls.

Instead, they say, lightening the burden of house chores could be a way for bosses to get more out of staff by freeing up their energy for work.

Their suggestions for employers include greater child-care provisions and courier services.

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