New research reveals the importance of a name in our latest lifestyle feature.
- Women named Rebecca have the most academic success
- For men, it’s those called James and Thomas who are found most frequently at top universities
- People named William often see success in creative industries
- Women called Sarah are most likely to be doctors, lawyers and journalists
- John is the most common name amongst criminals
Some of the UK’s top jobs go to people named David, research has found, with David emerging as the top name amongst British MPs, lawyers and millionaires.
Davids are also most likely to enforce the law, with the name appearing most commonly amongst Met Police officers.
For women, Rebecca tops the list of high achieving names, appearing most commonly at both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. In fact, women with names ending in the letter ‘a’ are most likely to end up at the top universities, with Anna and Emma also appearing near the top of the list of students’ names.
For men, James and Thomas appear most commonly at top universities. However, Matthews are more likely to be found at Cambridge, whilst Alexanders appear more commonly at Oxford.
What’s in a name?
Steve and Peter are the top names amongst men leading FTSE 100 companies. For women, Alison appears most frequently amongst FTSE 100 CEOs.
It’s bad news for Richards who are the least likely to have business success in 2018, with the name ranking most highly amongst those claiming insolvency in the last three months.
John is the most common name amongst criminals. However, it’s not all bad for men named John. There are 500 more doctors named John in the UK than any other name.
Those named William are most likely to be creative types, often becoming artists and authors; whereas those called Chris and Laura are the sportiest in the country, with these names appearing frequently amongst British Olympians, Sir Chris Hoy being a prime example.
The insights, which have been compiled using existing data from trade bodies, university databases and court records, have been put together by My Nametags, a manufacturer of durable sticker and iron-on name labels. They demonstrate that there are several patterns to be found amongst the names of Britain’s highest achievers.
Commenting on the findings, Linda Blair, Clinical Psychologist, said: “Parents are often convinced that the names they choose for their children reflect only their own personal preferences and family history, without any regard to those around them. In truth, however, we’re all heavily influenced by the people we see around us, particularly those in prominent positions. Without realising it, we come to like certain names because we admire the achievements of the individuals who have those names – achievements and abilities we may then encourage in our own children.
“And it doesn’t stop there. A recent study  by Yonat Zwebner and colleagues at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, carried out using both Israeli and French participants, suggests that we may also – again, without being aware of doing so – copy the appearance of others who share our name.
“Clinically speaking, it is my impression that we can also be influenced by the behaviour of others who have the same name as us. If this is the case, and I suspect it is, our name certainly can have an impact on our chances of success in life.”
Professional footballers are likely to go by shorter names, with players named Dan, Tom and Sam appearing most commonly in the Premier League.
It’s not a bed of roses for those named Patricia and Margaret whose names appear most often on criminal trial records.
However, it’s good news for Sarahs as the name is the most common female name amongst doctors, lawyers and journalists.
Women called Kate, on the other hand, are more likely to have musical talents, as the most common name among female Brit Award nominees. Kate Tempest was the latest in the line of Kates to enjoy Brit Award success when she was nominated for Best British Female Solo Artists at this year’s awards.
Another female name often set for success is Mary, with the name appearing frequently on the Sunday Times Rich List, as well as topping the chart of names of authors.
Lars B. Andersen, Managing Director at My Nametags, said: “Our work is centered around names and we were curious to find out more about the link between the names we are given and our chances of success. Interestingly, our research suggests that there is a connection between our name and the path that we take in life.
“As producers of name labels, we are privy to lots of information about name trends and were not surprised to see that traditional names are still prevalent amongst the most successful individuals in the UK. However, analysis of the My Nametags database suggests that the millionaires of tomorrow might include a few new names with Ava, Isla, Noah and Leo identified as the top growing names this year.”