Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Men still run American business

Or at least that is one conclusion you could draw from the list of most common first names of executives, as taken from Dow Jones Companies & Executives database on a scan I conducted recently. Of course we can't tell the race of a person based on a first name, though the names are certainly traditional Anglo-American in origin. So the data are more striking for what they seem to say about the gender of the executives than their heritage.
The database has global representation from millions of companies, but it is disproportionately of North American executives. Of the 13,000 unique first names in our database of millions of people, most of the top 100 are what many might be interpreted as traditional European-American male first names. (See below.) Of those that are obviously female, Mary is the top female name at No. 46, followed by Susan at 48, Karen at 71, Linda at 77 and Barbara at 90. As for the top 20 overall, it's a list most of which would not have been out of place 50, or even 500, years ago:

  1. John
  2. David
  3. Michael
  4. Robert
  5. James
  6. Richard
  7. William
  8. Peter
  9. Thomas
  10. Mark
  11. Paul
  12. Stephen
  13. Charles
  14. Joseph
  15. Steven
  16. Daniel
  17. Frank
  18. Mike
  19. George
  20. Gary

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