High-earners apologize twice as often as low-earners, according to a survey by Zogby International, which found a near perfect correlation between how much people earn and how often they say they are sorry.
Americans earning over $100,000 a year are almost twice as likely to apologize after an argument with their other half as those earning under $25,000, according to the survey. The link between income and apologizing holds true across the income ranges; the more one apologizes, the more he or she earns.
Those polled were asked if they would apologize after an argument with their significant other, in three different situations: when they felt they were to blame; partly to blame; or blameless.
In all three, people's willingness to apologize was an almost perfect predictor of their place on the pay ladder. So, 92% of $100,000+ earners would apologize when they felt they were completely to blame, compared to 89% of $75,000-$100,000 earners, 84% of $50,000-$75,000 folks, 72% of $35,000-$50,000 earners, 76% for $25,000-$35,000 earners, and just 52% of those earning under $25,000.
Even when subjects felt were blameless, 22% of the highest earners would say sorry, compared to just 13% of the lowest ones.
This kind of close correlation between income and behavior found in the survey is rare. "As a Ph.D. in a social science, I can say that no behavioral variable correlates perfectly with income," says Marty Nemko, author of Cool Careers for Dummies .
The survey also shows that high-earners tend to be both brighter and more secure, concludes Nemko. "They realize when they're wrong and know it won't hurt their career much to apologize."
"This [survey] shows that successful people are willing to learn from their mistakes and keen to mend relationships," concludes consultant Peter Shaw, co-author of the book Business Coaching: Achieving Practical Results Through Effective Engagement .
Terry Shepherd, president of the Pearl Outlet, the company that commissioned the poll, has his own theory. "Maybe higher-earners apologize more because, as someone once said, it's easier to apologize afterwards than to ask permission beforehand--and high-earners ask permission less."
"Whatever the explanation the conclusion seems clear: If you want a pay-raise, learn to say 'sorry.'"
Zogby International conducted online interviews with 7,590 adults for the survey. A sampling of Zogby's online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the United States , was invited to participate.
Source: The Pearl Outlet