Family trades: just how rare are Conor and Cormac?

Sep 12, 2017 | News

One thing that makes Shields a bit different from your average dental clinic is that we’re the third generation of practising dentists in our family.

Some noteworthy things have happened to get us here, including great granduncle James’ gunfight with Abraham Lincoln, which you can read about here.

It used to be pretty normal for a son to follow in his father’s footsteps in bygone times, but we’ve been wondering just how unique we are in 21st century Ireland.

We found a data survey by Facebook looking at precisely this issue (“do jobs run in families?”). Last year it looked at 5.6million parent-child pairs on Facebook in English speaking places, where both listed an occupation.

It found that people within a family are still more likely to choose the same occupation, and it’s especially true of twins like our principal dentists, Conor and Cormac.

Alas, dentists weren’t mentioned specifically in the study (maybe they’re too busy to use Facebook…). But other professions were. A son with a father in the military was five times more likely to enter the military.

For fathers working in farming, fishing and forestry, sons went in for these jobs at seven times the usual rate. Daughters of women in office and admin jobs chose the same career twice as often as women in general did.

There was also cross-gender occupation inheritance, with scientist fathers having scientist daughters at 3.9 times the average rate, and mums working in law having sons in the legal profession 6.6 more often.

Interestingly, you can become less likely to enter a profession depending on what your parents do; for example, lawyer fathers were 15% less likely than average to have sons in construction.

The most striking thing to come out of the research for us was that twins are 24.7% more likely than everyone else to choose the same occupation.

Other research shows the family work connection has dramatically reduced in modern times. A study by the British family tree site in 2013 found that 7% of children today end up in the same job as their mother or father, compared to 46% in the Victorian era.

Recent Articles

Similar Articles