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Too Many Students Aspire to Be Teachers and Lawyers, OECD Says

(CNBC) Young people are not being creative enough when it comes to mapping out their future careers, according to a new report which found that the majority of teenagers aspire after 20th-century professions that are tried and tested.

Doctors, teachers, lawyers and architects continue to dominate among the top career goals for the majority of high school students, even as new professions in science and technology come to the fore, the OECD study noted. This could have potential implications for the future of work, the report highlighted.

To conduct the research, the OECD surveyed 15-year-olds across 41 countries in 2018 to find out what they wanted to be when they grew up. Their responses were then compared to those collected from other 15-year-olds in 2000.

The economic organization found little variation in teens’ answers between that time, even as technology has moved apace.

That is a major concern for society as it grapples with shifts in the global work landscape, said the OECD’s education director, Andreas Schleicher, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“It is a concern that more young people than before appear to be picking their dream job from a small list of the most popular, traditional occupations — like teachers, lawyers or business managers,” said Schleicher.

Teenagers’ Career Goals in 2018

Girls%Boys%
Doctor15.6Engineer7.7
Teacher9.4Business manager6.7
Business manager5.0Doctor6.0
Lawyer4.6ICT professional5.5
Nurse / midwife4.5Sportsperson4.9
Psychologist3.7Teacher4.6
Designer3.0Police officer4.0
Veterinarian2.8Motor vehicle mechanics2.8
Police officer2.3Lawyer2.4
Architect2.1Architect2.2
Total 52.9Total46.8

Source: OECD, Created with Datawrapper

“The surveys show that too many teenagers are ignoring or are unaware of new types of jobs that are emerging, particularly as a result of digitalization”.

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