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Swedish real estate agents are cool as cucumbers, research reveals


For several years, the personality traits of Swedish real estate agents have been tested. "The biggest difference compared to the average Swede is that real estate agents are more conscientious, but we were surprised by their high scores for emotional stability," says Jonas Kågström, researcher at University of Gävle in Sweden.

Mäklare i ett handslag

Foto: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

Jonas Kågström is running a six-year research project in collaboration with Svensk Fastighetsförmedling to investigate the long-term sustainability of the profession. For the past three years, the researchers in Gävle have sent an annual survey to 1,000 estate agents in Sweden. The survey targets five different personality traits in the five-factor model, The Big Five.

Jonas Kågström

Jonas Kågström

“Our analyses show that they are very conscientious, but their high scores for emotional stability surprised us the most," Jonas Kågström says.

Jonas Kågstöm believes that being emotionally stable is almost a prerequisite for real estate agents, as the profession has performance-based pay and is very stressful with irregular working hours. In addition, the legal responsibility is extensive here in Sweden.

“If you're calm as a cucumber and well-organised, you will have your papers in order and can keep many balls in the air.”

Test their students

University of Gävle’s study programme in real estate brokering is the oldest in Sweden. Here, students have been offered to take the tests during the last five years. Test results are followed up in seminars in which students can discuss their results, in groups or individually.

“This is something I can really recommend. The students find it very valuable to learn more about themselves. In this way, it becomes a kind of personality development as well.

In this process, Jonas Kågström points out, young students can be made aware very early on that personality affects performance and well-being in the profession,

That real estate agents tend to be very extroverted is easy to determine. However, it is more difficult to discern whether a person is conscientious or not. In fact, those who remain in the profession are more conscientiousness than the average Swede (one and a half standard deviations higher).

Future admission based on personality tests

Jonas Kågström says they have been toying with the idea of admitting a small quota of students based on a special personality test, which has been done in medical universities for many years.

“We would then follow them during their studies, as well as 3-5 years later when they're out working as real estate agents. That would be extremely interesting.”

He has suggested using such admission tests in nursing and teaching programmes, as these are professions which also require very specific personality traits for individuals to thrive in the profession.

“Teachers and nurses would probably all benefit from a little more self-awareness when they enter the profession,” Jonas Kågström says.

The Big Five

The Big Five model looks at five largely innate different personality traits said to determine how you function in different contexts as a person.

  • Openness: how open you are to new experiences
  • Conscientiousness: how conscientious you are
  • Extraversion: how extroverted or introverted you are
  • Agreeableness: how much you strive for harmony
  • Neuroticism: how emotionally stable you are

Since the 1990s, the five-factor model has been the dominant model in personality psychology to describe how our personalities are made up of personality traits. It is called the five-factor model because it is based on five factors/dimensions, each of which determines a personality trait. These five personality traits together form a profile, or a map, of an individual’s personality


Jonas Kågström, researcher in business administration at University of Gävle Phone: 026-64 87 75
E-mail: jonas.kagstrom@hig.se

Published by: Anna-Carin Skytt Page responsible: Anders Munck Updated: 2022-05-23
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)