Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 20 : Do you wish to improve your performance along with salary? A new study finds that presence of high-performing co-workers, especially in low-skilled occupations, can improve an individual's earnings.
The researchers from University College London found that in low-skilled occupations such as waiters, warehouse workers and agricultural assistants, an increase of 10 percent in the average performance of co-workers raises a worker's wage by almost one percent.
The study, published in the journal American Economic Review, reveals that this effect is most likely driven by increased productivity because of pressure to keep up with better co-workers.
"We would expect that some positive practices would 'rub-off' on co-workers and in fact we knew from previous research that such effects exist for specific occupations," said a researcher Dr Thomas Cornelissen.
"For example, a US study showed that supermarket cashiers scanned shopping items faster when they worked the same shifts as fast-working employees.
Our research showed that this effect was not unique to shop workers, but is applicable across many low-skilled jobs, such as waiters, warehouse workers and agricultural assistants," Cornelissen added.
They looked at the wage records from administrative social security data for millions of workers and all of their co-workers over a period of 15-years across 330 professions in a large metropolitan area of Germany.
To get a better sense of this, the team considered what happened after a high-performing co-worker had left the company.
If learning from colleagues was the explanation for the positive performance effects, it was expected that remaining workers would keep-up their performance after a high-performing co-worker had left the company.
The data, however, suggested that the opposite was true. The findings indicate that the remaining workers tended to 'slip backwards' after a 'good' worker had exited, suggesting that the productivity effect from co-workers is more closely aligned with peer-pressure, which lessens when a good workers leaves, potentially causing productivity and wages to stagnate.
However, the same rule did not apply, however, to high-skilled occupations such as lawyers, doctors and architects.