When it comes to career aspirations for teenagers, a University of Houston psychology researcher believes it’s best to shoot for the moon, so you can at least land in the stars. The truth is the moon may sometimes be unreachable.
In the Journal of Career Assessment, Kevin Hoff, assistant professor of psychology, reports the existence of important discrepancies between young people’s dream jobs and employment realities.
“Almost 50% of adolescents aspired to investigative or artistic careers, which together account for only 8% of the U.S. labor market,” reports Hoff, whose research examined the career aspirations of 3,367 adolescents (age 13-18 years) from 42 U.S. states. Investigative jobs include those in the field of science and research.
Hoff’s team conducted a large-scale coding effort using the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to compile the automation risk levels, educational requirements, and vocational interests of career aspirations.
Results revealed that most adolescents aspired to careers with low potential for automation. However, there were large discrepancies between adolescents’ aspirations and the number of jobs available in the labor market.”
Kevin Hoff, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Houston
For females, the most popular aspirations were doctors, veterinarians, teachers, and nurses. Doctor was most popular in early adolescence (accounting for around 12% of all female aspirations at ages 13-15), whereas veterinarian, teacher, and nurse were more popular in late adolescence (ages 16-18). For males, athlete was overwhelmingly the most popular aspiration during early adolescence (accounting for 22-32% of male aspirations at ages 13-15) but became less popular in late adolescence