New research suggests that a person’s date of birth can affect their climb up the corporate ladder.
According to researchers in the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, only 6 percent of an S&P 500 CEO sample was born in June and only 5.8 percent was born in July.
By comparison, people born in March represented 12.5 percent, while those born in April represented 10.6 percent.
“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,” said Maurice Levi, Ph.D., co-author of the study, which will appear in the December issue of the journal Economics Letters.
In the United States, cut-off dates for school admission fall between September and January. The researchers determined that the CEOs born between June and July were the youngest in their class during school, while those born in March and April were the oldest.
“Older children within the same grade tend to do better than the youngest, who are less intellectually developed,” said Levi.
“Early success is often rewarded with leadership roles and enriched learning opportunities, leading to future advantages that are magnified throughout life.”
Levi and his co-authors, former Sauder Ph.D. students Qianqian Du and Huasheng Gao, investigated the birth-date effect in a sample of 375 CEOs from S&P 500 companies between 1992 and 2009.
“Our study adds to the growing evidence that the way our education system groups students by age impacts their lifelong success,” Levi said.
“We could be excluding some of the business world’s best talent simply by enrolling them in school too early.”