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Impact of Genes on Career Paths and Success

Genetic research affirms the influence your DNA has on your career choices, success, and progression. This blog discusses the undeniable impact of genes on your career and how you can use DNA-based insights to fuel your professional progress. 

What you will learn - 

    • The relationship between your DNA and career inclinations 
    • Does genetics have an impact on how much success you experience in your career? 
    • The influence of genetics on your work-life


The DNA is our life’s blueprint, affecting innate tendencies such as physical appearance (like hair colour, height etc.) and personality traits. However, the massive impact our genetic makeup has on our professional success and career exploration is barely discussed or leveraged in guiding young people in their careers. Your genes indeed influence your inherent drives and dispositions towards certain academic pursuits, career options, and even subjective factors such as happiness and satisfaction at work. 

The far-reaching influence of your DNA is an interesting area of research, and experts have uncovered multiple data points that relate genetics to career exploration and success. From genetic disposition towards disciplines such as mathematics, pure sciences, sales, merchandising, and entrepreneurship, to your day-to-day work experience, genes touch every major aspect of your career.

Is your career choice encoded in your DNA?

Before we delve into the huge body of genetic research pointing to the career implications of your DNA, it is important to understand that your fate is not predetermined by your genetic makeup. The gene-environment interaction is an essential part of genetic studies and introduces the DNA as a guidance system or blueprint for the thousands of choices you make during your lifetime. Different genes are expressed in different environments, and it is entirely possible for some genes to never get activated or ‘switched on’. 

This is why genetic information must be taken as a plausible outcome, but not deterministic while navigating your options in your career and in life. This does not mean that the insights drawn from one’s genetic code can be overlooked, anything but so. As stated earlier, DNA is a powerhouse of information that can lead you to new possibilities and help you discover your inherited strengths, predispositions, talents, and personality. When it comes to career exploration, several links have been made between certain career options and genetic predispositions. Let’s find out.

Genetics and Entrepreneurship

One of the most interesting work choices is branching out as an entrepreneur. It is also challenging to be successful as an independent business owner and requires skill sets, behaviours, and interests that set one apart and enable them to be the best at what they do.

There have been several connections made between genetics and entrepreneurship as a career choice - 

    • Genes have a significant influence on one’s need for autonomy, which is often what leads people to quit their 9 to 5 jobs and start their own companies.
    • Dependability, perseverance, and thoroughness are all genetically influenced traits (up to 61 percent), also important for entrepreneurial success
    • Risk-taking capacity is up to 55 percent genetically determined and is directly associated with entrepreneurs
    • Entrepreneurs tend to be more outgoing and sociable. Extraversion is a highly heritable trait. 

Genetics and job choice

Genetics affect career decisions in multiple ways, including whether one is attracted to high-status jobs vs jobs that offer more autonomy. Let us take a look at how genetics impact different career choices for individuals -

    • Genes account for 21 percent of the difference between people in their interest in law enforcement 
    • About 46 percent of the difference between people in their interest in “academic comfort” is determined by genetics
    • 32 percent of the difference between people with respect to their inclinations towards different occupational interests are genetic.
    • 25 percent of the variation in interest in managing people is due to genetics, while family environment can only be attributed to 8 percent of this interest.
    • Genetics account for 29 percent of the difference in people’s interest in merchandising 
    • 19 percent of the difference in people’s interest in sales is genetic
    • 36 percent of the difference in people’s interest in finance is hereditary
    • One’s preference for adventure and agrarian work is up to 53 percent genetic

It is not easy to completely understand the degree of impact that one’s genetic makeup has on their career options, especially when one considers their environment and lived experiences. Free will remains paramount, but there is value in the research and findings that point us to our unique genetic predispositions and how they affect our professional lives.

Genetics of Success

It is astonishing to imagine that your DNA may actually determine how successful you are at school and work, but there is evidence to support this. Research indicates that over 70 percent of a child’s success in school is attributable to genetics. General intelligence is a highly heritable trait and naturally plays an important role in one’s success at work. 

A study suggests that success at school, including primary, high school, and college, is up to 50% heritable. Educational attainment also has a high genetic heritability, making success at work even more complicated to evaluate, especially when rewarding employees.  However, the environmental impact of success is also important here. According to an identical twin study, it was observed that 70 percent of the stability in achievement is because of genetics, while 25 percent is a result of the twins’ shared environment. A shared environment can include going to the same school, having a common group of friends, and growing up in the same home and neighbourhood. 

It is difficult to fathom just how much of success is dependent on one’s DNA or environment, but a deep dive into your genetic information can definitely help you gauge your realised and unrealised potential for academic and career success.


Genetics and work-life

Not only does your DNA influence your career and academic pursuits and success, but it also has a huge impact on the way you feel at work. This is a fascinating study, given the rising need for changing work regimes and evaluating what matters when it comes to productivity and mental wellbeing at work. 

It is true that your genes can impact the degree of job satisfaction and happiness at work. In fact, a study suggests that 30 percent of the difference in overall job satisfaction between people is because of their genetics. Genetics affect not just the satisfaction derived from the nature of the work itself, but also the happiness experienced while doing the work (including work conditions).

Moreover, the genetic impact on job satisfaction is present across a range of jobs. Genes also impact how frequently you change jobs. In fact, over 36 percent of the difference in the frequency of job changes between people is attributable to genetics. Another interesting finding indicates that 56 percent of the differences in individuals’ descriptions of their job histories as “stable” or “changing” is impacted by their genes.

Discover your ideal career path through your DNA

Your genes pack powerful information about your inherited potential, gifts, strengths, predispositions, and personality. Believing in the power of self-discovery, Genleap is the world’s first DNA-based patented* skill discovery, upskilling, and employability platform that empowers individuals with powerful self-discovery tools to unlock their latent strengths and talents. 

Genleap integrates three sciences - Genomics, Cognitive Astromancy, and Psychometrics to help you discover the best version of yourself and realise your untapped potential. With its proprietary assessments and a growing partner ecosystem, Genleap offers unmatched self-discovery combined with lifetime career and professional guidance for individuals to leverage their inherited and acquired potential. 

Genleap’s flagship product - GenDiscover offers a detailed evaluation of your inherited talents, skills, strengths, and personality traits, that can help you better understand yourself and make informed decisions in life. It also offers a list of the top 99 career choices that can give you a clear ranking of what careers are suitable and not suitable for you, according to your DNA. 

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