Summer babies less likely to be CEOs: study
Published Tuesday, October 23, 2012 3:19PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 23, 2012 3:23PM PDT
People born during the summer are less likely to be CEOs, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.
The study investigated the birth month of 375 Chief Executive Officers from S&P 500 companies and found a significantly lower amount of CEOs were born in June and July compared to other months.
June babies accounted for six per cent of CEOs, while July babies made up only five per cent.
Babies born in March and April were most likely to be CEOs, accounting for 12 per cent and 10 per cent of the sample respectively.
Sauder School of Business professor Maurice Levi explained the “birth-date effect,” a phenomenon based on the way children are grouped by age in school, was to blame for the discrepancy.
“Older children within the same grade tend to do better than the youngest, who are less intellectually developed,” Levi said. “Early success is often rewarded with leadership roles and enriched learning opportunities, leading to future advantages that are magnified throughout life.”
However, although summer babies may not be as likely to lead a company, that doesn’t mean they won’t be successful.
“If you don’t have those leadership skills, maybe you become a brain surgeon, or something else that requires different skills,” Levi added.
While Levi acknowledges the findings of this study might influence parents to hold their kids back a year if they’re close to the cutoff – a practice known as “redshirting” – he adds that a better solution may be to make adjustments at school.
“Teachers and school administrators should be aware of [the birth-date effect] and make adjustments,” Levi advises. “Give the kids who are younger and less confident a chance, single them out and don’t just go to the same kids every time.”
Jennifer Reynolds, editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine told CTV News in August that the trend of redshirting is growing in Canada as more parents consider the benefits it offers their children.
However, according to Reynolds, redshirting could put younger students at a disadvantage if teachers focus on the high performers and raise expectations for the entire class.
According to Levi, the current education system may be detrimental to both children and the business world.
“Our study adds to the growing evidence that the way our education system groups students by age impacts their lifelong success,” said Levi. “We could be excluding some of the business world’s best talent simply by enrolling them in school too early.”