Second-Borns are Most Likely to be Bad Employees, According to Study

Scientific studies suggest that second-born kids may have a tough time in work environments.

Kids pillow fighting


Profile Picture
Taylor Tobin1.84k

Depending on who you ask, birth order can hold major implications for personality development later in life. Experts regularly make claims using birth order as a basis; first-borns tend to be confident extroverts, youngest children are sociable and independent…

And second-born children? Well, according to Parents Magazine, their fate may involve becoming subpar employees (cue my maniacal laughter as I, a first-born child, send this link to my sister). Parents cites a 2017 study conducted by MIT, the University of Florida, and Northwestern University, which concluded that second-born children (particularly second-born sons) develop more behavior-based issues and complications than their first-born counterparts. 

The universities’ study included thousands of families from Denmark and Florida, providing a strong sample size to allow them to make educated estimations. To explain the study’s conclusion, Parents quotes author Joseph Doyle and his team, who claim that:

"We consider differences in parental attention as a potential contributing factor to the gaps in delinquency across the birth order. Second-born children tend to have less maternal attention than do their older siblings."

Also, the tendency of second-born children to admire and try to emulate their first-born siblings can lead them to follow and attach to less-than-mature behaviors (sorry, sis). According to Doyle, “the firstborn has role models, who are adults. And the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational 2-year-olds, you know, their older siblings.”

So, what does this say about the connection between birth order and job performance for these second-borns? Definitely nothing conclusive. But because second-borns may be more likely to hold onto an anti-authoritarian streak, it’s important for them to monitor their own reactions to their managers and to avoid rebelling just for the sake of it. Also, remember that second-born and middle children also have a reputation for being excellent listeners and strong team players, and they can use these attributes to their (and to their company’s) advantage. 

Don’t miss out on articles like these. Sign up!