Summer babies do less well at work

People who were born late in the school year - 'summer babies' - may find it harder to get ahead in the workplace compared to those born at other times of the year. This is the suggestion of new research to be published in the journal Economic Letters, which found an individual's progression up the corporate ladder can be impacted by their date of birth.

Investigators from the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business discovered only 6.13 per cent of a 500-strong sample of chief executives were born in June and just 5.87 per cent celebrated their birthday in July.

This was markedly lower than the 12.53 per cent recorded for March and the 10.67 reported for April.

Maurice Levi, a Finance Professor at Sauder, explained this trend is down to how children are grouped by age in school, with people born in March and April in the US being the oldest in their year.

Professor Levi noted older children tend to do better in the classroom as they are more intellectually developed.

"Early success is often rewarded with leadership roles and enriched learning opportunities, leading to future advantages that are magnified throughout life," he added. 

Gaynor Sbuttoni, a Chartered Psychologist, comments:

"This is a very interesting piece of research. There are many psychologists, teachers and mothers who would say that they often see the signs that summer-born babies are at a disadvantage in school because they are the youngest children in the class. Some of them are in fact a whole year younger than the oldest children in the class. 

The older child is more ready for school intellectually and emotionally and so more ready to learn. They then go on to experience less failure because they are more capable. This success brings approval and an increase in confidence and self-esteem. Also picking up a further point made by Professor Levi these more confident and capable children are the very children that teachers choose to give responsibility as they believe that these are the children that can fulfil the job they are given. These children then grow up to believe in themselves. They feel more comfortable with responsibility because they have had more practice in dealing with it.

Maybe it is the children who find a job difficult who should be given the chance to practise. Perhaps the teacher should choose the child who finds it difficult to take the register to the school office rather than the one who finds this job easy."