How the tone of your voice affects how much money you make
When was the last time you thought to yourself ‘if only my voice were lower I’d make more money’. If your answer is never, you’re not alone. I too have never considered the pitch of my voice to be a hindrance, or in fact have any bearing on my career.
Well, think again. According to a recent study, people – male people that this – who have really deep voices make more money. They apparently also hold very big jobs, with lots of responsibility, for long periods of time.
A study out of Duke University and the University of California at San Diego found that CEOs with “deeper voices manage larger companies and as a result, make more money.” Professors from both universities set out to study if the pitch of someone’s voice correlated with career success. They studied the vocal pitch “of 792 male chief executives at publicly traded companies.” For their research they “tracked the vocal ‘fundamental frequencies’ of CEOs’ speech during earnings calls or investor presentations, then analyzed measures of their success, including compensation, company size and tenure.”
What they found: the lower the voice, the more money made. CEOs’ with deep vocals made on average “$187,000 more” than those with a higher vocal pitch. The ‘deep voiced’ also led companies worth “$440 million more in assets” and enjoyed longer tenures.
Interestingly, the researchers were only able to conduct a study based on male participants. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the professors were hoping to also carry out their research on female executive participants “but there aren’t enough for a statistically meaningful study.” The author of the Wall Street Journal article notes there are only 21 women who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies – a compelling sidebar to the overall findings.
But what does this study mean for the rest of us? Are those of us who don’t have a really deep voice fated to never lead multi million dollar companies? Will a deep voiced job seeker always be offered the position over a candidate with less bass?
The researchers do take care to note that the study looks at the correlation between a physical trait and not the path followed to reach the position of CEO. The study’s abstract acknowledges that this is purely a study of association, albeit a rather interesting one.
While the finding suggests that a deep voice might help to sway decision making when hiring, there are also other attributes that need considering. Experience, leadership ability, education surely way heavy in any decision making process.
Regardless, let’s take it to a vote: do you think you’d be more inclined to trust or follow direction from someone with a deeper voice than someone with a high-pitched voice?