What do you want to do when you grow up?
That’s the age-old question for young people. Many are answering not with a specific job or career label, but rather with a set of interests and value statements.
Our survey asked what type of work students are drawn to.
1. 84% say making a contribution
Example occupation: Surgeon
2. 75% say helping people
Example occupation: Athletic Therapist
3. 75% say making decisions
Example occupation: Financial Analyst
4. 70% say solving problems
Example occupation: Powerline Technician
5. 70% also say using communication skills
Example occupation: Tech Startup Owner
If these values are the broad motivators that will drive career choices, it’s important to show students how their preferences can apply in different settings.
Interestingly, 65% of students show an interest in working with their hands—perhaps due to parental influence, as two-thirds of them had a parent in the trades.
When the options presented in the survey are more specific—creating new products (50%) or caring for sick people (28%) for example, the interest levels drop. These activities happen to rely heavily on STEM skills, and are or will be in high demand in the coming decades.
Students also express interest in owning a business (48%) and being an entrepreneur (39%). Again, this speaks to overall ambition as opposed to the pursuit of a sector or specific job. Given the appeal of working independently, it’s helpful for students to understand:
- High-growth business areas
- How STEM courses can be a foundation for entrepreneurial ventures
- The hard and soft skills required to successfully run a business from staffing to financing.