Most CEOs Were Not Summer Babies
October 24, 2012

Summer Babies Have Less Of A Chance To Become CEOs

Connie K. Ho for — Your Universe Online

The question of nature versus nature has long plagued scientists. While individuals can be affected by their genetic background, they can also be influenced by their day-to-day environment. One study in particular takes it further and looks at the effect of both these factors on an individual. The results highlight the roles that individuals in the business sector have in relation to their birth date. In this project, researchers from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia recently discovered that an individual´s month of birth can impact their career, especially for those who aspire to be CEOs.

To begin, the research displayed that only 6.13 percent of an S&P 500 CEO sample was born in June while only 5.887 percent of the same group was born in July. On the other hand, in the same sample, there were 12.53 CEOs born in March and 10.67 percent of CEOs born in April. The findings will be published in the December edition of the journal Economics Letters.

“Our findings indicate that summer babies underperform in the ranks of CEOs as a result of the ℠birth-date effect,´ a phenomenon resulting from the way children are grouped by age in school,” explained the study´s co-author Maurice Levi, a finance professor at Sauder, in a prepared statement.

The scientists based some of their findings off the education system in the U.S. According to the team of investigators, the cut off enrollment date for schools is from September to January. As such, with the sample, the CEOs born in June and July were considered the youngest students. On the other hand, those born in March and April were considered the oldest.

“Older children within the same grade tend to do better than the youngest, which are less intellectually developed,” continued Levi in the statement. “Early success is often rewarded with leadership roles and enriched learning opportunities, leading to future advantages that are magnified throughout life.”

A few benefits for older children include given more leadership tasks as well as appearing more capable, which translated to continued confidence.

“You´d expect that to diminish through time,” Levi commented in an article featured in the Vancouver Sun. “When you´re four or five years old, a year is a lot of time....By the time you reach 55, you´d think it wouldn´t matter at all. It turns out, statistically, you´ve got a lot less chance of becoming a CEO if you were born in those months where you´re one of the younger kids in class.”

The study was conducted from 1992 to 2009, with the researchers noting that the study could shine some light on the difficulties students may have in the education system due to their birth date.

“Our study adds to the growing evidence that the way our education system groups students by age impacts their lifelong success,” concluded Levi in the statement. “We could be excluding some of the business world´s best talent simply by enrolling them in school too early.”