Does your birth date affect your job prospects? A Czech study thinks so

Kids at the younger end of their school year group face more struggles than their peers throughout later life, including in the job market. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 06.01.2022 12:58:00 (updated on 03.02.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech labor market has been strongly affected by the Covid pandemic, with a high number of jobs currently available per applicant. But some factors outside job seekers' control can still affect their chances of finding work.

A new study published by Brno's Masaryk University in cooperation with Ghent University in Belgium has found that children born at the beginning of their school year do significantly better on the labor market than their classroom peers born later. This means the four Czech babies who were born a minute after midnight on January 1 this year already have the upper hand on finding work later in life compared to children born in the summer.

The study examined the results of 6,000 Flemish children born between 1978 and 1980. Kids born almost a year later than their school peers were found to be 5.1 per cent less likely to get a permanent work contract after finishing school.

“We see that the maturity differences, which were built up earlier, translate into the quality of their labor market performance,” said Professor Stijn Baert. The results suggest that the difference in development between younger and older children persists throughout their school career and subsequently in their professional life.

The researchers argue that attention urgently needs to be paid to younger children in education. They argue that investing in the development of the youngest children in each year group pays off in the long-term, as it creates more adults ready for the labor market.

The results could be a particular concern for international parents and their children living in the Czech Republic. International kids at the younger end of their respective school years not only suffer from the usual developmental disadvantage identified by the study. They also miss out on months of Czech language learning and social integration before entering the classroom.

The latest figures from the Czech Statistical Office show a clear link between educational attainment and job prospects. A very small proportion of the country's unemployed have a university education. Those out of work are mostly people without a "maturita," attained at the end of secondary education. People at the younger end of their school year group, who perform less well in school activities, are therefore also statistically more likely to be unemployed.

The results of Masaryk University’s study suggest that differences in the development of children at school can affect job prospects throughout life. Yet with the number of job vacancies outnumbering job seekers in the Czech Republic in recent months, now may be a better time than ever for younger students to enter the labor market.

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