Tag Archives: Research findings

It’s Not Who You Know, But What You Know After All

Study Proves Intelligence More Important for Success than Your Socioeconomic Background

 Here is some refreshing news for every brilliant (and diligent) worker or student from a poor socioeconomic background. You may not have all the connections (“links”) to get the top jobs immediately, however, it is now demonstrably clear that if you keep doing your best at whatever job you do get – your time will come.

In the long run, it seems that it really is more about WHAT you know and what you can do as opposed to WHO you know, that will determine how successful you can become. | Photo by Lost in Transit [Keep St Joe Weird]

Intelligence Vs. Socioeconomic Background (SEB)

According to a 25 year long study by researchers at the Tel Aviv University, “When intelligence and socio-economic background (SEB) are pitted directly against one another, intelligence is a more accurate predictor of future career success.”

Professor Yoav Ganzach of TAU’s Recanati School of Management believes that his study, which has been published in the journal Intelligence, should encourage “those who can’t rely on nepotism for their first job placements.”

For the privileged ones who can rely on the friends of mommy and daddy to get jobs, the writing on the wall is clear – links can only take you so far.

“Your family can help you launch your career and you do get an advantage, but it doesn’t help you progress. And once you start working, you can go wherever your abilities take you,” Professor Ganzach said.

How IQ Impacts Wages

The study involved survey data of 12,868 Americans from 1979 through 2004. Participants were interviewed twice each year. Some were eliminated for various reasons to ensure intelligence and SEB were the two main variables.

Intelligence: The results of each participant’s Armed Forces Qualifying Test were used to measure intelligence.

SEB: A participant’s parental education, family income, and the occupational status of the parents was used to measure SEB.

According to Professor Ganzach, by examining the participants over an extended period (25) “from the beginning to the middle stages of their careers, it was possible to obtain an accurate picture of the influence of each factor on their economic success.”

“Taking into account each participant’s rate of advancement throughout the career arc, the data confirmed that while both intelligence and SEB impacted entry-level wages, only intelligence had an influence on the pace of pay increases throughout the years. When looking at rates of advancement, intelligence won out over SEB in terms of career advancement.”

The Takeaway

Nepotism will only get you so far. Once you have gotten the job, your success is up to you. | Photo by DrJohnBullas

1. Networking is Still Very Important

Go ahead and network as connections can impact where you start out. Prof Ganzach did find that “those from a wealthy family tended to start higher on the office totem pole with better entry-level wages.”

2. Networking and Nepotism is Not Final

Once you get your foot in the door – where you end up is your decision. “Prof. Ganzach’s research discovered a direct correlation between intelligence and an upward wage trajectory, defined as the rate at which an employee was rewarded with salary raises.”

3. Don’t Discount Other Factors

You should note that this study only focused on intelligence versus SEB. It did not take into account other factors that affect career success like “personality, social skills, and the ability to work well in a group — all factors that influence advancement.”

Well what do you think? Please share.