Is success due to “what you know” or “who you know”?
Intelligence is more predictive of long term career success than coming from a wealthy family or a privileged socio-economic group.
Conventional wisdom tells us that in the business world, “you are who you know” — your social background and professional networks outweigh talent when it comes to career success. But according to a Tel Aviv University researcher, making the right connection only gets your foot in the door. Your future success is entirely up to you, says Prof. Yoav Ganzach of TAU’s Recanati School of Management.
When intelligence and socio-economic background (SEB) are pitted directly against one another, intelligence is a more accurate predictor of future career success, he asserts. Although those from a wealthy family tended to start higher on the office totem pole with better entry-level wages, 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.
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.
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