While longer names may sound more sophisticated, shorter first names are the ones that lead to a bigger paycheck, according to a new study that compared name length and salary size.
For every extra letter in a name, there was a $3,600 drop in salary on average, according research just released by TheLadders.com, an online job-matching service. The company looked at the first names of nearly 6 million people in its database and found a correlation between length of name and compensation.
The findings were true for nicknames as well. The study looked at 24 sets of names and nicknames, such as Stephen/Steve or William/Bill, and found that people who used the shortened version of their names tended to make more money.
Researchers at TheLadders suggested that a higher level of seniority could correlate with a wider use of nicknames. However, there could be other implicit social factors that are behind the trend. Previous research has shown that names that are unique, or more uncommon, tend to have a harder time in the job marketplace and get fewer callbacks from employers. A widely cited study discussed in the 2005 book Freakonomics, showed that people with distinctively African-American names are more likely to live in a neighborhood with higher poverty and lower income.
Other research has show that names are also associated with gender stereotypes. A 2000 study showed that people tend to subconsciously predict career success for those with names that more closely match the gender stereotype associated with that profession.
Regardless of the length or spelling of the name, TheLadder's job search expert Amanda Augustine said the most important thing is to keep the name the same everywhere it appears. "Make it consistent across every business channel, including your professional online profiles, resume, business cards, and email signature," she said in a statement release with the study results.