Shorten Your Name to Make More Money

Friday, May 10, 2013
Billionaire Sara Blakely

The fewer the letters in a first name, the better, if the goal is to make more money.


That’s the finding of a new study by TheLadders, an online job-matching site that examined the names of six million of its members.


For every extra letter in a name, the cost in terms of annual salary could be $3,600.


TheLadders tested 24 pairs of names, such as Steve and Stephen, Bill and William, and Sara and Sarah, and found that in all but one case those with shorter names earned higher pay (The exception was Lawrence over Larry).


Other good money-making names to go with: Tom, Bob, Marc, Dana and Cindy.


John L. Cotton, a professor of management at Marquette University has also studied the way names affect hiring, and he is somewhat suspicious of TheLadders findings since it’s not a “typical sample.”


“I don’t think you can pick a name to get more money, but you can pick a name to get less money,” he said.  The research conducted by Cotton and his Marquette University colleagues found that unusual names such as Apple or Moonbeam, and African-American sounding names such as Tyronne, Jamal and Latoya, were less likely to get hired compared to more common names like John and Susan.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Aaron Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

The Shorter Your First Name, the Bigger Your Paycheck (by Vickie Elmer, Quartz)

On a First-name Basis with Success? Your Mom Chose Your Name Wisely (by Daniel Cronyn, The Ladders)

The “Name Game”: Affective and Hiring Reactions to First Names (by John Cotton, Bonnie O’Neill and Andrea Griffin, Marquette University) (pdf)


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