Shorter Name, Fatter Paycheck?

We’ve seen how foreign-sounding names are correlated to lower salaries (thanks to prejudice during the hiring process) but here’s something new: longer names are correlated to lower salaries as well.

Several months ago, job-search site TheLadders examined the names of nearly 6 million users and determined that shorter names, including nicknames, are correlated to higher salaries. In fact, they went so far as to say that “it looks like every additional letter added to your name accounts for a $3,600 drop in annual salary.”

So what’s the explanation? Why are people with short names being paid more?

For nicknames, it may just be that men and women in high-paying leadership roles use nick-forms of their names (Bill vs. William, Debbie vs. Deborah) to seem friendlier and more approachable.

But the part of the study that looked at minor spelling differences (Sara vs. Sarah, Michele vs. Michelle, Philip vs. Phillip) is harder to explain. Any ideas?

Sources: On a first-name basis with success? Your mom chose your name wisely (via A. Mitchell)


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