Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's In A Name? A Lot, Says LinkedIn

By William Fenton
Names tell stories: LinkedIn locates divides by gender, nationality, and profession.


If I had my sights on the corner office, I'd do well to re-brand myself as "Bill." According to LinkedIn, that is. After scouring its repository of 100 million professionals, LinkedIn has released some fascinating data about first names and career paths, not to mention some delightful infographics.

Thanks to its global reach, LinkedIn has data on professionals from across the planet. Senior Research Scientist Monica Rogati started by combing the database for names over-indexed (over-represented) among CEOs. The results revealed a gender divide.
LinkedIn CEO Names The top five CEO names for men were either short or shortened versions of popular first names: Peter, Bob, Jack, Bruce, and Fred. The top five names for women executives, meanwhile, tended to use full names: Deborah, Sally, Debra, Cynthia, and Carolyn. Of the contrast, Rogati cites Onomastics specialist Dr. Frank Nuessel, who posits that males use shortened names to "denote a sense of friendliness and openness," whereas females employ full names to "project a more professional image."

While monosyllabic names are over-represented amongst American executives, globally it's another story. The Brazilians have Roberto, Spaniards Xavier, Germans Wolfgang, and the Italians—I'm not making this up—Guido. And that's before season 4.

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