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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Can your birthday really dictate your career success?

Birth dates and career success are linked
Applicant age & experienc eaffects success in finance careers & other professions
By Sam Wright

Can your month of birth really affect your direction in life? Yes, it can, according to astronomers and psychics. But we're not talking about the paranormal here. The matter comes down to education, and whether certain birthdays give people an advantage.

In a blog post by David Richter, we learn a few enlightening statistics about the correlation between success and month of birth. His first example shows the truth in stark detail: of the 1,779 English men playing at the top of the soccer league tables, more than 40 per cent were born at the beginning of the school year: September to November. And this doeasn't appear to be a fluke; the figures are eerily similar when you look at other sports teams.

The education advantage of being older

A few months might not seem like a lot. But to a very young child, a season is a massive chunk of their life. That's why youngsters who go to school when they're almost five have a significant advantage over the ones who have only just turned four years old.

The children who have been four for a while have spent time in smaller classes, or with caregivers, effectively receiving tuition in reading and writing before school. They've developed physical strength beyond that of their younger classmates. They have more life experience, more confidence, more skill. Essentially, they have a head start.

The implications for professionals

With all this talk of school, you'd think that the effects of a birthday even out over time. After all, what's a few months when you're 30 or 40 years old and settled in a marketing job? But if you assumed the effects of that head start were smoothed out over time, you'd be wrong.

In the figures presented by David in his post, 21,000 full time employees were scanned for salary and job title. David was looking for people who earn more than £156,000, for example. He found that women are 28 per cent more likely to be high earners if born between September and March, rather than April to August. Women who are managing directors of a company are 73 per cent more likely to be born in the first half of the academic year. This seems to suggest that women are affected more than men, possibly because women are already less likely to be bosses.

What can we do to redress the balance?

Age-related advantage isn't just a hypothesis; it's been proven in studies reported in prominent newspapers, and a birthday on 31 August has been picked out as the worst in the year because the school year starts the next day. In a way, it's slightly worrying, since it suggests the very system schooling our children is deciding how successful they will be.

But marketing jobs continue to offer a good salary, regardless of whether you fit into that high earnings bracket, and the opportunities for career progression are there. If you look towards technical marketing as a job, you could boost your income and employability beyond that of your slightly older peers.

About the author: Sam Wright is a writer and SEO specialist. When not writing about marketing jobs, Sam is interested in improving his knowledge of the industry. Sam recommends you check out the Brand Republic site for marketing roles.

Image license: Remko Van Dokkum;  Creative Commons


  1. Our son has a late birthday and we intentionally didn't push for him to start Kindergarten. I think we made the right choice as he's one of the smartest in his class and will certainly excel in sports from a size standpoint. Not much of a downside if you ask me :-)

  2. This isn't my area of expertise, however it is known the educational system has a substantial impact on the mental development of children for better or for worse. Perhaps some natural out-of-school time is good for children so they can become "themselves" a little more.