Type A vs Type B personality traits and jobs to suit them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

You have likely heard someone refer to themself as a Type A or Type B to explain their behaviour. Type A and Type B are personality types that come from a longstanding theory based on distinct personality traits. Knowing about personality types is a useful way of understanding behaviour. In this article, we look at the traits of Type A and Type B personalities, discuss the benefits of knowing your personality type and list some jobs that can maximise the personality traits of each.

Type A vs Type B personality

The Type A vs Type B personality theory describes two contrasting personality types. Despite no two people having the same personality, psychologists have been placing people who share several personality traits and preferences into groups since the beginning of the early twentieth century. These groups are what we call personality types. The proclivity to understand human behaviour and characteristics in this way started after the first World War when psychologists attempted to identify which soldiers were more likely to suffer from shell shock. Since then, people have proposed a range of personality types.

The A/B personality configuration developed from the studies of American cardiologists Drs. Friedman and Rosenman in the 1950s. Their study revealed similar behaviour traits among patients with heart problems. They coined the term Type A personality to describe people who shared the traits and behaviours they had observed. They labelled people without these traits as having a Type B personality. The cardiologists believed Type A personalities had a higher risk of heart disease. In the 1990s, psychologists connected Type A personalities to increased stress levels and high blood pressure and Type B personalities to being more relaxed.

Related: What are the big five personality traits? (with definitions)

The benefits of knowing your personality type

Identifying your personality type is a useful way to better understand your thoughts and habits. It can be a good indicator of how you're likely to act in future situations. Having an awareness of why you do the things you do can help change negative behaviours. The heightened self-awareness you get from understanding your personality also allows you to see how you best communicate with others, understand how you interpret your environment and know what contributes to your anxiety.

Understanding your personality type can help you realise your strengths and weaknesses and help you find careers you'll excel in. Today people consider Type A and Type B personalities as being more of a spectrum instead of strict categories. Knowing which end of the spectrum your personality leans towards can have benefits in the workplace. For example, those on the Type A end of the spectrum are usually more goal-oriented and might do well in an ambitious career, such as an advertising manager. Those towards the Type B end may show more tolerance of others. They may, for example, make better psychologists.

Related: How to answer the interview question 'How would you describe yourself?'

How awareness of the personality types helps you understand others

Understanding the personality types can give you a better understanding of other people, which can improve both your personal and professional relationships. When you appreciate the differences that come from various personality types, you can use it to your advantage by interacting with people in ways that best suit them. This can make you better at resolving conflict and giving advice.

Being able to recognise people's personality types can help you interact with colleagues and clients in the most effective way. Type A and Type B personalities respond to their working environments in different ways. If you're in a position that involves managing people, knowing the Type A/B personality configuration can enable you to predict people's reactions to working together and create more productive teams.

Related: Interpersonal communication: definitions and examples

What are the characteristics of a Type A personality?

Type A personalities have these traits:

  • competitive

  • ambitious

  • goal-oriented

  • organised

  • prioritise achievement

  • dislike wasting time

  • experience more stress

  • hostile

  • aggressive

  • self-critical

Related: How to maintain a positive attitude in 11 simple steps

What are the characteristics of a Type B personality?

Type B personalities are:

  • easygoing

  • relaxed

  • reflective

  • tolerant of others

  • imaginative & creative

  • good communicators

  • sensitive to criticism

  • prone to procrastinate

  • easily distracted

Related: How to stop procrastinating

What jobs suit Type A?

People with more Type A personality traits often find satisfaction in jobs that are goal-orientated and require strong leadership. Here are some jobs that may suit Type A personality traits:

1. Advertising manager

National average salary: £33,431 per year

Primary duties: An advertising manager oversees the creation and distribution of promotional materials, such as print advertisements, television commercials and digital ads. They delegate tasks to their team and monitor the progression of projects, ensuring that they remain on track to meet client expectations and budgets. Advertising managers also analyse data and evaluate projects to check advertising staff achieve the desired results. It's a job that requires the ability to make effective and efficient decisions while working on several campaigns at once.

2. Financial analyst

National average salary: £36,289 per year

Primary duties: Financial analysts compile reports to determine the value of companies and give advice on financial performance. They analyse a company's finances and note economic and business trends to make predictions on future growth and help companies make less risky financial decisions. Financial analysts follow the performance of a stock to identify and recommend potential investment opportunities. They require the ability to spot trends in the rapidly changing business world and the capacity to take risks.

3. News Editor

National average salary: £35,420 per year

Primary duties: A news editor's role is to oversee the activities of a newsroom to meet deadlines for timely publication. News editors assign stories for reporters to cover and review and edit the work they produce. They also work with photojournalists and develop strategies to improve the readership of the publication they manage. A news editor works under pressure in a dynamic environment where they maintain standards and ensure that information is accurate.

4. Marketing Manager

National average salary: £37,725 per year

Primary duties: Marketing managers plan and manage marketing and social media strategies to promote the sale of products or services and increase brand awareness. They may oversee a team of marketing professionals and often coordinate with designers, web developers and advertising departments. Marketing managers need excellent communication skills, attention and the ability to come up with new strategies quickly.

5. Business owner

National average salary: £31,133 per year

Primary duties: The best business owners are self-motivated and possess a strong work ethic. They manage a variety of aspects in a business and develop strategies to ensure their business remains competitive and profitable. Successful business owners focus on achieving their business goals and prepare to make decisions under pressure. Important traits are trusting their own judgement and selling their ideas to others.

What jobs suit Type B?

People with more Type B personality traits thrive in environments where they can work with others and make the most of their creativity. Here are some jobs that might suit Type B personality traits:

1. Psychologist

National average salary: £34,533 per year

Primary duties: Psychologists study human emotions, behaviour and thoughts and work with patients suffering in these areas. They work alone or as part of a team to develop treatment plans to improve their patients' psychological health. Psychologists need excellent interpersonal skills, empathy, compassion and to be a calming presence. Psychologists may specialise in a particular area and conduct studies and assessments to develop their own theories.

2. Teacher

National average salary:£16,271 per year

Primary duties: Teachers work in a variety of educational settings including kindergartens, schools and colleges. Kindergarten, infant and primary school teachers teach all subjects, whereas secondary school teachers specialise in one or two subjects. A teacher's duties include planning lessons that follow curriculum guidelines, teaching and assessing pupils' progress. They also advise and provide guidance to their pupils. Communication skills are crucial, as is the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.

3. Yoga instructor

National average salary: £52,033 per year

Primary duties: Yoga instructors lead groups and individuals through physical postures and techniques designed to both stretch and strengthen muscles. They may work independently or in a gym or yoga studio. Yoga instructors practise yoga themselves and may specialise in teaching a type of yoga or type of client. They know how to position people effectively and safely, how to communicate cues and require a consistent empathetic nature.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisation's mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌‌ experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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