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 The Jobs Young People Aspire To


17 August 2017 at 4:23 pm
Lina Caneva
Young girls ranked being educators, lawyers and social professionals such as counsellors among their top career choices in a new report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.


Lina Caneva | 17 August 2017 at 4:23 pm


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 The Jobs Young People Aspire To
17 August 2017 at 4:23 pm

Young girls ranked being educators, lawyers and social professionals such as counsellors among their top career choices in a new report by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

When asked about their career aspirations, six out of 10 Australian 14 to 15 year olds knew what job they would like to have in the future, leaving 40 per cent not knowing what job they wanted in the future.

As well 60 per cent aspired to professional or managerial jobs (jobs that make up 35 per cent of the current labour market). Fewer 14 to15 year olds (14 per cent) wanted to work in areas such as retail, hospitality and administration (jobs that make up nearly half of the current labour market).

The report found that those with higher educational aspirations, higher achievement or higher family socio-economic status very often desired a professional job, if they knew what career they wanted. However, some 14 to 15 year olds aspired to jobs that they would not be able to achieve with the level of education they expected to reach.  

Both boys and girls were attracted to the medical and science professions, and jobs in design, planning and architecture. However, there were other marked gender differences in choices of professional jobs.

For example the report found that boys often wanted to work in engineering or transport; in information and communications technology; or in construction.

Boys were much more likely than girls to want a trade or technical job, such as a mechanic or builder and specifically in construction and in the automotive trades (9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively of those naming a desired occupation).

Girls were more likely than boys to want a job in personal services, such as hairdresser and beautician.

A number of boys and girls referred to glamorous or “fantasy” occupations. For example, about one in 10 said they would like to work in a job that involved sports or performance arts.

The report said boys were somewhat more likely than girls to know their desired occupation (61 per cent compared to 57 per cent), but gender differences were considerably more apparent when looking at the types of jobs desired.

Within the broad classifications, girls were more likely than boys to aspire to a professional/manager job or one in the service and miscellaneous category, with boys more likely than girls to aspire to a technician or trade job.

One in 10 boys who stated a desired occupation referred to a job in ICT, and this also was rarely mentioned by girls. This category captured general responses that indicated wanting to work in information technology or as a computer programmer, as well as responses such as “games developer”, “YouTuber” and “Apple genius”.

Sports jobs were also in the “top 10” for boys but not girls. These included jobs such as personal trainer, as well as ones such as professional footballer that are considered more aspirational, given their rarity as jobs in the labour market.

For girls, the top-named occupation (doctor, dentist or other health professional) was also in the boys’ top 10. Also on both lists were performance arts and production (5 per cent of boys and 7 per cent of girls who named a desired occupation) and professional design, planning or architect (5 per cent of boys and 6 per cent of girls).

Occupations that were only in girls’ top 10 were education professionals (that is, teachers and early childhood education workers) and legal or social professionals (eg lawyer, psychologist).  

Nursing (including midwifery) was selected by 7 per cent of girls and another 6 per cent selected jobs under health and welfare support and care, which included child care and aged care work.

Another 6 per cent of girls specifically referred to vet as their preferred occupation.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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