Saturday, 22 April 2017

How does birth order affect your career path?

As the oldest in a family of three, and knowing how different I am to my siblings, I'm fascinated by how birth order can affect personality. A recent study released by Disney has shown how the order in which children are born can have a significant impact on their future career. The research was commissioned to celebrate the close sibling relationship between Anna and Elsa from Disney’s film ‘Frozen’ and was led by psychologist Emma Kenny.

 The research showed that first born children were 29% more likely to become astronauts, and also tended to gravitate towards science and engineering careers. Middle children were more likely to become a company CEO, perhaps because fighting for attention as a middle child leads to competiveness, flexibility and diplomacy.

The incidence of Olympians is also 41% higher amongst middle children than might be expected from an average family. Younger children are proportionately 50% more likely to head towards a career in classical music, and the perfectionist and mature personality traits of only children appears to make them more likely to choose careers as artists.

 Families with a larger number of children than the average were more likely to produce explorers, like Christopher Columbus who was one of five siblings, and sea captain Sir Francis Drake who grew up as one of twelve.

Anna Hill, Chief Marketing Officer at Disney comments: “Frozen’s Anna & Elsa are two iconic siblings Disney is celebrating, with this research we seek to acknowledge the positive differences between siblings and the strong and lasting influence they have on one another.”

 Psychologist Emma Kenny comments: “The research conducted over the last month has shown that birth order is a significant factor in determining employment role types between siblings - overall there are far more typical cases than exceptions. As with Disney's film Frozen, the destiny of two siblings can be very different, however all siblings have an innate bond which should be celebrated.” Disney’s smash hit Frozen film celebrates the relationship between princesses Anna and Elsa, two sisters with vastly different personality traits and champions a new kind of true love story between two siblings.


Video source - Frozen Siblings Day from Taylor Herring on Vimeo.

*This study analysed the family structures from a random sample of 550 participants and results of the statistical analysis were found to be significant amongst each group. 

*The study analysed the proportion of each type of sibling in each sample group and compared this against what would be expected in a normal family to determine if the results were representative and therefore demonstrated a significant difference 

*The Average UK family has 2.44 children 

*Average family statistics were drawn from The Office of National Statistics 

*In some instances, family size was also found to have an influence, for example, in the scientists and engineers sample, scientists were found to come from much larger families than average (4.66 children rather than 2.44 in the average family). A similar effect was observed in the sample of artists.

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