The secret to success at work doesn't seem to be about whom you know, or even what you know, but how you feel about yourself.
New research suggests that confident employees have more successful careers than their peers who aren't as self-assured.
Research from the University of Melbourne revealed a strong correlation between confidence and occupational success. As part of the pilot study, researchers interviewed more than 100 employees from large corporations in Melbourne, New York City and Toronto about their levels of confidence while in elementary school, high school, college and on the job.
The research revealed that those who self-reported higher levels of confidence earlier in school earned better wages, and were promoted more quickly.
The study's lead author, Reza Hasmath, from the University of Melbourne's School of Social and Political Sciences, said the research demonstrates a crucial ingredient of workplace advancement.
"The implications are tremendous in terms of the personality employers should look for when it comes to hiring or promoting staff," Hasmath said.
Researchers said the findings also shed new light on previous studies that argued better-looking people were more likely to get ahead in the workplace, or that taller people earn higher salaries.
"We now know it's actually higher confidence levels — which may be a byproduct of attractiveness and height — which make all the difference," Hasmath said.
The study also found that workers who described themselves as extroverted, neurotic, open to experiences or agreeable, the standard indicators of hard workers, were also found to be more motivated and having professional success in terms of wages and career advancement.
"The findings imply that we should stress confidence-building activities at an early age," Hasmath said. "Such activities should be strongly encouraged both in formal schooling and within the family unit."
The full study, which also looks at job search, hiring and promotion processes in those large corporations, will be released at the end of the year.