Of the Big 5 personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability), extraversion may be the most recognized.

As the definitive “people person,” extraverts seek social stimulation and are known for their positive and lively attitudes.

Extraverted people tend to be:

  • Sociable
  • Outgoing
  • Talkative
  • Congenial
  • Energized by interaction

Although it’s common knowledge that extraverts are social and derive energy from being around groups of people, researchers are still discovering new facets of the personality type.

In fact, extraversion is one of the most widely discussed and studied personality characteristics in the field of psychology.

When it comes to how this personality type fits into a workplace, researchers agree that their effect is mostly a positive one.

Advantages Abound

To add to this vast field of study, researchers Michael P. Wilmot, Connie R. Wanberg, John Kammeyer-Mueller, and Deniz Ones compiled a meta-analysis of 97 studies on extraversion in the workplace in 2019.

The research revealed “effects in a desirable direction for 90% of variables,” and labeled extraversion’s four main advantages found in the studies:

  • Motivational
  • Emotional
  • Interpersonal
  • Performance

According to the study’s authors, advantages in these areas are given to extraverts in the workplace because of the positive emotions, assertiveness and dominance behaviors which are attributed to highly extraverted individuals.

For example, extraversion’s motivational advantage derives from a drive for achievement and rewards, which then produce positive engagement.

As a result of meeting goals and achievements, extroverts experience higher levels of positive emotion, producing a second advantage.

Third, because extraversion is related specifically to verbal and nonverbal communication styles, as well as the ability to pay attention to the needs of others, an interpersonal advantage can be found.

Finally, the motivational, emotional, and interpersonal advantages enjoyed by extraverts often culminates into a fourth advantage. Extraverts’ performance can advance due to their positivity, communicative nature, and drive.

As a result of these advantages, extraverted people are more likely to be rewarded with promotions, higher pay, and new career opportunities.

The Downsides of Extraversion

For all the benefits extraversion has in the workplace, there are some drawbacks.

For example, those employees who are very highly extraverted may be more easily distracted by opportunities to socialize than introverts, thereby losing focus on work tasks. Also, working remotely may be a challenge for extraverts, who will need to create opportunities to connect with others to be successful.

And interestingly, the Wilmot study revealed that extraverts may not be as likely to pursue education as introverts and may not seek friendships outside their personality type.

Potential Good-Fit Careers for Extraverts

With an innate ability to engage with others, extraverts tend to excel at sales jobs, and often land high-paid leadership positions.

But just about any job that allows an extravert to engage with others can be a good fit. Besides sales, some of the best careers for extraverts include:

  • Public relations
  • Human resources
  • Education
  • Social media
  • Event planner

Some careers may not be a great fit, however. Specifically independent and at-home work are not ideal, as they do not provide the social interaction an extravert craves.

Examples may include:

  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Accountant
  • Research analyst
  • Data scientist

Successfully Social? Consider Personality’s Impact on Your Workplace

Well known for being talkative and gregarious, extraverts gain energy from engaging in social interaction.

This social aspect of extraverts is oftentimes a positive addition to the workplace, according to psychologists, and provides an abundance of inspiration, excitement, and meaningful interaction.

Although extraverts possess motivational, interpersonal, emotional, and promotional advantages, they may not mix well with those that are not fellow social-seekers, or they may find remote work challenging.

Researchers agree, however, that those with this dynamic and energetic trait are desirable workers in many cases, and often find lucrative success in a variety of vocations.